If you’re a woman who has travelled solo, or who is planning to do so in the future, you’re basically guaranteed to encounter people who’ll question your life choices. And, whether it’s your family, friends or your fellow travellers, it can be frustrating to be subject to the same doubts over and over again.
While one perfectly acceptable option is let it slide and keep on exploring, sometimes it’s gotta be addressed. Of course, most of the questions you’ll be asked as a woman travelling on her own aren’t asked of female travellers exclusively, but it sure helps if you know how to answer them.[related_articles]32389,56593[/related_articles]
#1 Aren’t You Scared?
Sometimes. Everybody gets scared. But while it’s important to keep your wits about you, it’s not wise to let irrational fear dictate your decisions – or prevent you from getting out there.
I’m not afraid of being alone or meeting new people or of having my world view broadened. Be smart and don’t put yourself in certain situations without evaluating the risks. Easy.
#2 Don’t You Think X Is A More Authentic Experience Than Whatever You’re Doing?
Travelling solo, especially backpacking, can become a competition of who can have the most unusual or “local” trip.
While I’m all for looking beyond the tourist traps and respecting the local community, judging other travellers’ itineraries is a completely unnecessary pursuit. Some people like camping in the jungle, others like shopping. It’s meant to be fun, not a competition. So, I’m going to do my thing and you do yours, and let’s agree to never mention the word authenticity again, OK?
#3 What Do Your Parents Think Of Your Trip?
They’re very happy for me, thank you.
#4 Is That What You’re Wearing?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Like most women, I considered all the different factors that affect how I present myself to the world when I looked in the mirror this morning, and landed on this outfit. I have tried to compromise between cultural sensitivity, physical safety and my self-expression.
Also, I leggings *are* pants and you can wear joggers with absolutely anything. Feel free to try it sometime.
#5 Don’t You Have Any Friends Who Want To Travel With You?
Travelling with friends and travelling solo are completely different experiences, and I like to do both.
I love going on trips with my mates because you never really know someone until you’ve spent 12 hours on a bus together, but, as we get older, it’s increasingly difficult to find a couple of weeks of holiday time when we have serious jobs and families to consider.
Travelling alone requires less planning and co-ordination, so it is often the more accessible option. Either way, I want to assure you that I do have friends and I recognise the beauty of a trip that entirely consists of getting drunk with friends on a boat in the Mediterranean.
But I also recognise the value of solitude, getting lost and finding yourself again.
#6 Is That Really Your Backpack?
Too big? Too small? My backpack is an eternal source of curiosity, but this is the stuff I need and I’m the one who has to carry it.
And, yes, I have tried packing cubes.
#7 Don’t You Get Lonely?
Not really. Travelling solo is a great way to meet people because you are forced to put yourself out there, and I have made friends all over the world. Of course, there are times when I miss my best friends and my mum (like when I get food poisoning) but, thanks to social media, I can always get in touch if I get homesick.
In general, I travel solo because I want to spend some time alone. It teaches me to challenge myself and question my perspectives. And there is a particular thrill going it alone. The possibilities are endless.
(Lead image: Ryan Christodoulou)