“Freedom is claimed, not received.”
You might be scared to travel alone because you don’t want to feel lonely, you are a bad planner and your map reading ability is not something to be proud of, because you can’t control your spending or because you don’t like talking to strangers, but you should not be scared to travel because you are a woman. We are so influenced by social pressure that sometimes we forget about our own needs, we put our dreams into tiny boxes and hide them away, in vain hopes for more accepting and open minded future. But we forget about those boxes, because that future is a mirage, that will only get more blurred and vague the more you wait.
I can easily recall my first solo trip to New York in 2011. I chose the safe path — everything was thoroughly planned and booked, I went for a language course because I was not sure I would be able to get my visa otherwise, I had an apartment booked and transfer prearranged, I even had a ticket to Foster the People gig at Terminal 5 in my pocket. It was not a solo trip how it is perceived nowadays, but it was my first step, my first encounter with travel. How does the freedom taste? It is sweet. So I was hooked.
That trip upended my world. I met people who defied standards by not getting a job after college and going traveling. Half of them were women — the most inspiring women I ever met. They were unique and individualistic, kind and supporting, creative and inspiring. They were never alone on their journey, because their strength of character would draw crowds towards them.
So here is why women should travel alone:
You will become stronger and more independent. Traveling alone is essentially an act of rebellion. As a female traveller, you defy social standards and let everyone know that you stand on your own in this world. But more than that it is about chasing freedom. It is empowering and liberating to finally stop worrying about what others think, follow the dreams others didn’t have courage to pursue, see sights others can’t see and eventually create the lifestyle you want.
You’ll acquire entrepreneurial spirit and find your life purpose. They say that starting your own business is like jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down. Women rarely start businesses, because they think risk will inevitably bring failure. Setting off on a solo trip is that exact leap towards the unknown, which can be frightening and scary, but the result is so worth it. You’ll gain different perspective and reevaluate your priorities, and you will realize that failure is only a stepping stone to success.
You’ll become more sociable and learn how to manage people. When you travel alone, you become more comfortable with yourself. When we appear comfortable with who we are, we start exuding confidence. Confidence is intriguing, it attracts other people and it is extremely sexy. Inevitably you will start questioning how to turn it into a power source and I’m sure you will figure that part out pretty easily — it is natural for confident people to also be a good leader. Why it is particularly important for women? Because we still live in the men’s world and it needs to be changed.
You can fall in love. Our social circles rarely expand after the we finish college. All connections we make after college years are either business related or random people we pick up at bars, who have nothing in common with us. Traveling alone automatically makes you the part of one of the biggest communities out there, and it is mostly dominated by men. One of those men might as well turn out to be your soulmate. However do not go traveling and looking for love. The two greatest advice that I was ever given on the road were “Just enjoy it”, meaning enjoy traveling as a wholesome experience with no goals other than pursue for adventure and self discovery, and the second advice was “If someone makes you happy — go for it”.
Can solo traveling change woman’s life? It certainly can. Women too long for freedom and independence, and solo traveling is the easiest and safest (with certain precautions taken) way to break out of the routine. And like every life changing decision, that is supposed to bring personal growth and invaluable experience, it is going to be hard to overcome your fears and make the step towards it. Once you make it though — there are no limits to growth.