Women Can and Should Travel Solo
Growing up between two countries gave me a transatlantic lifestyle from birth. This was the foundation of my passion for travel. I was flying alone from a young age and I loved the adventure of even just the flight. As I came into my twenties, my passion for travel grew. I began to live in various places, working and studying and traveling whenever possible.
When I was a child, my aunt bought my family a subscription to National Geographic. This exposed me to the world through beautiful images and fascinating stories. I was probably eight years old when I began reading about the world through National Geographic. I wanted to go explore, that was my plan. Africa was first on the list!
I began by driving across America solo at the age of 19. Then I moved to Ireland and did my studies there, which was an excellent way to see Europe and surrounding areas. Growing up in America and Ireland, I saw two perspectives of travel. In America, I heard some horror stories about people traveling outside of the States, yet in Ireland I was watching people go off at 16 and 17 on holidays around Europe, and on working holidays to Australia and Asia. One thing was consistent: the reaction I got from friends, family, and acquaintances when I told them my dreams and plans to travel the world: “You can’t do that, especially not that country, you’ll be killed”. I’m happy to say I did not listen to this advice. Although it did create some anxiety around the idea of traveling solo to obscure places, it didn’t stop me.
I had to plan things quietly in some cases, to avoid having my loved ones try to convince me to stay. For example, India. This was my first big travel destination to a developing country, alone. I only told my Mom until my flights were safely booked. I followed my soul and of course respected my loved ones’ concerns, but I had to travel.
In America, I heard some horror stories about people traveling outside of the States, yet it in Ireland I was watching people go off at 16 and 17 on holidays around Europe, and on working holidays to Australia and Asia.
There’s something very special about traveling alone. It’s how I met myself. Profound, life altering transitions and soul awakening experiences have been the outcome of my solo travels. As a woman traveling alone, it can be more dangerous but it can also teach you how to protect yourself. For me, being solo kept me ‘awake’ throughout my travels. It was as if my awareness was heightened when I was preparing for India, bringing all my senses to life. They stayed awake throughout my travels, and made for a richer experience.
Of course I have had some issues on my journeys, but nothing that has deterred me from continuing this lifestyle. I tend to look at challenges in general as opportunities to learn and strengthen myself. Traveling and living a nomadic lifestyle is, for me, a constant learning opportunity. Meeting people, learning about the world, changing perspective, and learning about myself. When you know yourself, you can shape the life you desire, and this permeates into all aspects of your life. This intimacy with the self has improved all of my relations and has allowed me to shape the goals and dreams envision for my future.
My message is this: women can and should travel alone. Don’t listen to the media propaganda that simply creates negative connotations around travel and the societies of certain places in the world. I have almost always been greeted with warm smiles, welcomed into the lives of local people, invited to weddings, birthdays, special occasions, been given gifts… Most precious of all, I’ve been told stories, and learned about the places and people I encounter on my journey.