I’m all about empowering women to travel solo because I believe it is one of the most amazing things you can do for yourself. However there’s no point pretending it’s all rainbows and butterflies. Acknowledging and being prepared for some of these unfortunate facts will only make you more prepared. If you’re not shocked by some of this then you will be able to handle it better and know that it is not just you, it is common for many women!
People Might Label and Pity You
Not always, but it can happen. There will be times when you are going to eat a meal alone and that’s something many of us are not accustomed to. People may stare at you and wonder why you don’t have someone to eat with.
Friend and family back home may also see your choice to travel as the wrong one. They may personally value a career and having a family first and therefore pity you for not having those things. Ignore it all. Shrug it off. You are learning and experiencing so many things that having a family would not allow you to do. To each their own.
You May Be Held Back
There are certain things that you either can’t, shouldn’t or simply don’t want to do alone. Certain hikes may not be safe for just one person and while you can normally find a buddy, it’s not a guarantee.
It’s also easy to get lazy. You can have big plans for a day but without someone else to push you, it can get easy to let the exhaustion of traveling get to you and just hang out at the hostel for the day. Keep in mind, this isn’t always bad. Your hostel is a great place to meet people and giving yourself time to rest is important while on the road.
Oh, The Rules
As an American, I’m used to a pretty free life as a woman. No, everything is not equal yet but we don’t have as many restrictions as women do in other places in the world. It can be hard going to a country where you are expected to cover your body or behave in a certain way. Let it make you grateful for the freedoms you enjoy and try to not be judgmental of these differences… even as you’re sweating your butt off wearing pants in blazing heat.
This is a Spanish term for the compliments received in many Latin American countries. In other words, it is cat calling. In some countries it’s worse than others and if you’re in a country where your skin and hair look different from the locals then it’s easy to be picked out and harassed. I had a terrible experience in Turkey with this. It was so frustrating walking through the markets that we just ran home immediately. It can be taken as being flattering but eventually it’s just annoying.
None of this should hold you back. Traveling alone or with friends is a beautiful thing. When you go home you will not be thinking about the uncomfortable or bad times that you had. You will only remember the amazing parts so just focus on those in the present as much as possible!