Remember when you couldn’t resist your urge to travel anymore?
So, you turned to your friends, boyfriend, second cousin, and your best friend from first grade to go with you, but they all said that nasty word that has two letters in it… “NO”
Finally, you came to the conclusion that if you wanted to travel, you’d just have to go it alone. Maybe those around you expressed concern or tried to talk you out of it, because the idea of a GIRL travelling on her own, unfortunately, draws some extreme criticism.
Yet thankfully, solo female travel isn’t as taboo as it used to be.
The number of solo female travellers is growing year by year, challenging the status quo and proving, not only to others but also to ourselves, just how strong and independent we can be.
Unfortunately, there are still those few questions that we solo female travellers get asked ALL THE TIME, that I want to answer once and for all, so we can all move on and accept the fact that females travel, solo.
Here are 13 questions just about every solo female traveller has heard once or multiple times:
1. Why is a beautiful girl like you still single?
Because so many conversations with would-be suitors start like this…
And because I am a strong independent woman finding my own way in life.
2. Don’t you have any friends who want to travel with you?
I do, but they have their own lives. They are in school getting their degrees, climbing the corporate ladder, or for some, they are starting their families. We are each on our own path in life. We all have different passions, dreams and goals. Just because their lives keep them at home doesn’t mean that I’m friendless.
3. Your boyfriend/father lets you travel by yourself?
Excuse me? nobody LETS me do anything. I make my own damn decisions, like the grown-ass adult I am.
But depending on how aggressively you’re asking, he might be around the corner, 300 pounds of solid muscle and ready to kick your ass. I’m on my way to meet up with him now.
4. Isn’t it dangerous for a woman to travel solo?
STOP WITH THIS QUESTION IMEDITALTY!!! These days I spend more time in foreign countries that are way safer than my own hometown, so by leaving home, I am actually decreasing the chances of something bad happening.
5. You’re not worried about being taken advantage of because you’re by yourself?
When I’m on my own, I’m very aware of my surroundings at all times. My intuition gets sharper and I am on alert 24/7. Thankfully, I find that being a girl travelling solo is actually helpful rather than a disadvantage.
6. Don’t you get bored?
It’s impossible to get bored with your surrounding landscapes constantly changing, with new smells, sights, people and conversations on the daily.
7. How do you stay safe?
I do the exact same things I have been doing my whole life to stay safe and alive. I say no if a situation makes me uncomfortable, don’t walk around alone at night and make sure that I familiarize myself with the safety situation in the cities I visit, simply by asking the hostel workers what to be aware of and what and where to avoid. I also dress according to the customs of the country I am in, to avoid unwanted attention and hassle.
8. Don’t you get lonely?
Every time I walk into a hostel, I make at least five new friends within the first 20 minutes. I have made more friends than I can count simply because I’m constantly moving and in new lactations where there are new people around every corner, and while there are some lonely times, they are few and far between. (Sometimes you are begging for some alone time)
9. Don’t you get homesick?
Yeah, I do. That’s a tough one, the longer I’m away from home the more I miss those who have always loved and supported me. The great thing is I can always go home, but the number one thing I am very grateful for and it helps me not get homesick, is video chat/facetime, I can see my family and friends through the small screen on my phone or on my laptop screen, and have conversations with them for as long as we want. Sure, it’s not the same thing as being with them and being able to hug them, but it’s the next best thing, and we make it work.
10. How can you handle living out of a backpack with a very minimal number of things and clothes?
Honestly when you’re having the trip of a lifetime, what you are wearing and how great your hair and makeup look quickly fade in your priority list. It’s about the adventure, and that’s an even more beautiful thing. You don’t need many things to survive, just enough to make yourself feel happy and comfortable. You won’t miss your things at home, trust me.
11. How do you afford to travel as much as you do?
Hard work, sacrifices, and savings, or work abroad, it’s really that simple!
12. When are you going to settle down, have a family, and stop travelling?
This is my favourite question of all because every woman should want to get married and have kids, right? I don’t see ‘settling down’ as the end goal for my life. Maybe I’ll get married and have kids and maybe I won’t. I do know that right now, what truly makes me happy and full is exploring the world and if someday that doesn’t do it for me anymore, I’ll figure something else out.
Don’t worry too much about me, I’ve gotten to know myself better than I ever did before I started travelling solo three years ago. I’ve become so much better at problem-solving, negotiating, and listening to myself with what I need and what I want. When the time is right to choose another path, I’ll know, but it’s not right now, and it won’t be tomorrow, either.