Solo Travel for Women Is Not 'Brave'
I'm tired of hearing how travelling alone as a female makes me brave.
Since being back in home, I have been working with temp agencies. I don't want the commitment of a full-time job because I've been hooked on travel. I take any job that comes up; bar work, waitressing at weddings, teaching, activity camps. Anything to help me purchase that next flight out of here...
Being part of an agency means I meet new people on a daily basis. Every day I find myself being asked the same question about my temporary work and every time the same answer. Travel.
What baffles me is the trepidatious response that seems to be far too familiar when I tell them that I travel alone.
Why are people so terrified of the thought of travelling alone? Why does it make me such a courageous person to travel solo as a female? I am not brave. I am simply curious. I'm curious about the world around me. I want to see animals thrive in their natural habitats, I want to explore the oceans, I want to trek to remote villages and learn about their cultures.
It wasn't my initial plan to travel alone. I desperately wanted someone to join me. I hated my own company, always had to have people around and freaked out when I was alone. But after I had booked my flight, the friend who planned to come away too decided they couldn't afford it and there I was, stuck with a one-way flight to Singapore and coming to terms with the fact I would be doing it alone. The truth is, the empowerment comes from choosing to do it anyway. Regardless of having no companion. What's the alternative anyway? Stay at home because it's too nerve-wracking to do it yourself? Buy a VR headset, sit outside and watch Blue Planet? Deny yourself the experiences you desire all because no-one quite wants it as much as you?
When I arrived in Singapore with my 45L backpack and complete lack of sense of direction, I walked up and down the airport lounge trying to work out how to get out of the building (I'm embarrassed to admit, I also tried using Google Maps). I didn't have a clue. Eventually, I made it out of the airport and to my first ever hostel where I found that I would be sharing a room with five men. Admittedly, this did make me feel a little uncomfortable, but what you realise when you travel is most people you meet make you feel safe and comfortable within the first five minutes of speaking to them. Everyone is in the same boat (hostel). Everyone has a story.
That's where it started. Then I learned to take busses alone, I took trains alone. I booked my own accommodation, I sorted my own visas. I sometimes ate alone. I slept alone. I explored alone. But only when I wanted to because I was never really alone. Not for the first few weeks anyway. There was always someone. That's one of the magical things about solo travel. One of the greatest gifts it gives you is the people you meet along the way. Inspiring people with open minds, dreams and a thirst for adventure... the type of people you rarely find at home.
Travelling solo as a female is not brave. It is empowering, it allows you the freedom to create your own adventures and to learn about yourself and the world around you.