(A calling to all women)
Ever wanted to travel somewhere, but have been too scared to go by yourself? Have no more fear. The following is a step-by-step explanation of how you could overcome your inhibitions and easily travel the world all by yourself.
Everyday millions of women travel the world alone either for work, vacation, or volunteer opportunities. But while it may be undeserved, your fear is not without merit. There are many challenges both men and women travelers deal with on a day-to-day basis – we both have friends and families who worry about our safety, we both come across similar financial situations, etc.
We aren’t so different in many ways, but then why is it such a big deal for women to travel alone?
Unfortunately, truth as it may be, women have different overall concerns, especially when it comes to traveling. Women are more vulnerable and are attracted to different values and experiences.
So you may ask, “Who would ever want to travel alone?”
Well, as a matter of fact, there are a great many benefits to traveling alone, as opposed to traveling in a group, even as a woman.
Traveling alone gives you complete freedom (in all aspects), to do anything and everything you feel like doing, there is nobody around to inhibit you. It also increases your problem solving ability, for you are entirely responsible for when things go wrong. It creates self-dependence, because you rely on yourself for figuring out your sleeping and traveling accommodations, and finally it tests your courage because you realize what you’re capable of.
So the real question is, “Why wouldn’t you travel alone?”
These are priceless characteristics that shape you into becoming a well-rounded, open-minded, and largely better person . The point is that it is not just a mans luxury, the three main reasons that prevent women from traveling alone is fear of being alone, unsafe, and bored. Something that with the right amount of guidance and experience you can overcome with ease.
“Won’t I be alone?”
- Smile. Sometimes just appearing friendly will elicit others to be helpful and welcoming towards you in case something goes wrong.Smiling will even portray an air of confidence suggests Liubov Russell, a Foreign Service Officer at the Department of State, “If you are confident in what you are doing – people will always accept and respect you.”
- Set up challenges for yourself. Force yourself to ask questions, start up conversations, and keep discussions going. “At first I was very resistant to talking to people,” says Kimberley Harricharran, a Resident Assistant at St. John’s University’s Paris campus and frequent single woman traveler, “but then I forced myself to talk to some of the locals of the cities I went to and it provided me with a more profound perspective and understanding of the culture.
- Have an open heart and be open minded. “Majority of the people that I met or had interactions with were very friendly, welcoming, and similarly to everybody else around the globe, are praying for peace, wanted to help their families and are dreaming for better lives for their children,” says Russell. Understand that you are in a different part of the world, and things are going to be very different from you are used to, do not be too quick to judge and say no to trying new foods and customs.
“Won’t I be unsafe?”
- Be prepared. Do your research about the customs of the country you are traveling to “You should make an additional effort to learn about the geography, history, and the sensitive issues of the country. People are also very pleased when you learn a few phrases in their language and attempt to use them.” Russell suggests. Try to blend in with the locals, be this through the way you dress or your body language, in order to not draw any unnecessary attention.
- Be aware. Before leaving for your destination, scan your precious documents, like passports, IDs, or credit cards so you have them on file. Tell a friend or family member where you are traveling so at least one person is aware of your location. Walk around the town or neighborhood the first thing you do once you arrive, in order to get a sense of your environment. Always know where your valuables are located, whether on you or in your hotel. Most importantly, with human behavior is to trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable go with your gut feelings. “We typically recommend to female students to not responds to taunts,” says Gregory Bruhn, assistant director of St. John’s University’s study abroad programs, “because they don’t necessarily understand the social cues or cultural treatment, it tends to provoke the aggressors to challenge their authority.”
- Be smart. “I always arrived at my destinations early in the mornings, when it’s still bright outside and never stayed out past midnight,” Harricharran explains about her experience. Easiest way said: don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home. For example, don’t get too intoxicated, accept drinks from strangers, or go hitchhiking. Maybe you will be sacrificing a little bit of the party lifestyle but its for the greater good of your journey and you will find other ways to have fun.
“Won’t I get bored?”
- Check out apps and websites like Lonely Planet, Timeout, Project Expedition, and Spotted by Locals about events going on in the city you are in.
- Seek out regional foods. Challenge yourself to never eat at chain fast food restaurants. Food Spotting is a useful website for discovering the best local restaurants where you are – who knows what you will like until you’ve tried it!
- Create a bucket list of things for you to see and do before you leave or move on to your next destination. This will motivate you to do more in a short amount of time. You never know when you will be able to visit the same place again.
The world has grown in uncalculated ways – many good and others bad. In the good sense, we, as women, have developed an access to resources, places, and people never before so easily available. And just like us, civilization is growing and evolving with constantly changing ideas and experiences. Therefore its our job as independent female explorers to share these concepts and shock those we’ve encountered with the knowledge that we’ve learned. Without further adieu, it’s these simple tips and tricks you’ll be able to conquer any of your biggest travel fears and inspire others with your greatness.
Procrastinate no longer! Spit on your inhibitors!