There's a very particular experience that comes with being a woman who travels, especially alone, and it's not something we talk about often. While many people express concern for safety (which isn't invalid — travel can be dangerous for anyone) there seems to be a particular bias that women simply cannot handle themselves the way that anyone else can, or that a woman's desire to travel is to compensate for a lack or loss of love (hey, Eat, Pray, Love) — or in the worst case scenario, that women who love to travel are "flighty" and unsettled. All of it can be traced back to our very deep (yet very pervasive) line of thinking, which is essentially that women are somehow less capable of being aware of their surroundings, or of choosing wise/safe options for themselves by themselves.
So today we're going to talk about exactly what every woman who has travelled alone has come to understand. As one of the highly advertised millennial "rites of passage" into adulthood, you may already be of the opinion that traveling is just what you do when you backpack across foreign countries, write a blog about it that at max one or two people care about, and then feel accomplished for having moved your body across the ocean and back. But in reality, traveling is whatever you want it to be — across the state, country, and yeah, abroad — but you don't need to think of traveling as just something reserved for the culturally "elite." It's something you do all the time, and women do all the time, and so we need to start talking about it honestly and realistically. Here are five things every woman who has traveled alone understands:
Having Your Every Move Questioned By Loved Ones Back Home
It crosses the line from "concerned relative making sure you have your bases covered" to "clearly someone who does not think you can have the foresight to adequately plan for travel."
The Actual Danger Of Being A Woman On Her Own — Anywhere
It spans from generally inconvenient catcalling as you make your way down the street all the way to actually wondering whether or not you'll be safe in a certain situation simply because others perceive you as "more vulnerable."
Learning The Most Brutal Lessons In Self-Awareness
Two things that every single person needs to learn, and very few actually develop outside of contexts in which you're absolutely required to.
Realizing That Your Confidence Is Everything – Even If You Fake It
Every time you get into a cab in a foreign country and give directions like you've been there a thousand times before so nobody rips you off by taking the long way – you are practicing some classic "fake it until you make it" techniques.
Learning That Traveling With Yourself Is Learning To Love Yourself
To care for yourself, and prepare for what will make you most comfortable or what you'll need in the event that you're sick or your bag is stolen. When you are the only one you have to rely on, you learn to rely on yourself pretty damn well.
Images: Giphy (3); Pixabay