Another Perspective on Solo Female TravelPosted by Anne on Feb 13, 2013 in All, India, Personal, Travel | 7 comments
Ok, that’s it.
I realize that I am a novice blogger, and so many excellent posts have been written on the subject, but I feel the need to chime in.
If this is your introduction the #WeGoSolo movement, let me briefly explain. There has been somewhat of a backlash against women traveling alone, and—I’m sad to say, women traveling in general—spurred in part by the tragic death of Sarai Sierra, an American in Istanbul traveling solo. (See the links posted at the end of the page for more information.)
As some of you know, I am about to announce my plans for a longer-term travel period of my life. When discussing the itinerary, I am shocked and saddened to hear some people say, “I don’t understand why you want so badly to go to all these third world countries.” Ummm pardon me, while I clean out my ears…what did you say? “Aren’t you scared?”
When I realize they fully mean what they said, I eagerly want to reply “I don’t understand why you want to go plop on a beach in Hawaii or *gasp!* Mexico for the 90th time!” (although I’ve got nothing against either place…I love beaches, too!) but instead I ask the dissenters if they have traveled outside of the United States, to a so-called “third world country.” The people that don’t understand haven’t gone, it’s that simple.
I’m all about one’s right to their own opinion. To each their own. If you never want to leave the country, that’s fine. It’s not for everyone. (I might ask you why you’re reading my blog, though…) I also respect worry about safety and wellbeing in foreign countries. What I don’t respect is blacklisting an entire country when you haven’t been to it. If you go, and experience misery (I’m thinking of the one woman in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel film, seen it?) then you are fully entitled to your opinion.
The same goes for solo travel. 99% of the time, the ones who fear it or condemn it are the ones who haven’t done it. I’ve been there! (the fear part…) The reason I am writing this post, is that I likely never would have traveled solo had it not been for the urging of other travelers. If you do have a voice inside of you whispering “travel,” let this be your nudge! Be smart, do your research, put yourself in the best position possible as far as safety goes…but do not fear. Don’t be so scared that you never go. For there are undoubtedly risks, (less than you’d think,) but those who have gone will tell you…the rewards are far greater.
…Sound familiar? (see last tab above.) I bet even if you’ve never talked about going to India, you can imagine that this is what many people might say, if they objected to going.
The funny thing to me is…India is all of those things! (Except the weird people part, that is just ignorance and cultural relativism speaking.) They are common generalizations for a reason.
I’d ask you to talk to someone who has been to India, or better yet, who IS Indian…perhaps they would tell a different story. A story of beauty, history, culture, spirituality, kindness, foods that change your life and your tastebuds, a country that makes you question everything you know (in a good way!)
Women shouldn’t fear going to India…they should fear NOT going to India.
Perhaps you have gone and you disagree with me. India is a very polarizing place. India or elsewhere, I would again direct you to my previous point, that you are fully entitled to an opinion IF you’ve actually gone. Even still, I would wonder if you visited again if you’d have the same experience…
India is a hot topic now when it comes to women. Even outside of women traveling solo. Women’s rights are under examination and are generating discussion, both in India and outside of it (thank goodness.) The only thing that is scary to me is that these discussions will deter travelers, especially women and especially those who “go solo,” from going to places like India at all.
I was scared to go to India. I’ve never been so nervous before a flight in my life. Having gone, here’s what I say to you: don’t listen exclusively to the media, don’t let fear of the unknown or the unfamiliar control you. Take it all in, take the necessary steps of smart travel to ensure your safety, talk to other travelers (!!) who have gone and done it. Then do what’s right for you. Be aware that if you let the fear stop you from going, you may be missing out on the experience of your life.
I did my research, I felt the fear, I went anyways…I survived, I thrived. Now, it’s your turn.
We shouldn’t fear traveling solo, we should fear NOT traveling at all.
What’s your “scary” dream destination? You know, the place you’re curious about visiting but have reservations about making reservations? What is holding you back?
See more posts on this topic:
See a roundup of all posts on this topic at BreatheDreamGo, a founder of #WeGoSolo
Other excellent perspectives: Does Sarai Sierra’s Story Scare You From Solo Travel?
Stephanie of Twenty-Something Travel: Solo Female Travel is NOT the Problem
Amanda of A Dangerous Business: Dear Dad: Please Don’t Worry (A Treatise on Solo Female Travel)
Christine of Almost Fearless: The woman travelling solo question
Katie of Katie Going Global: No, It’s Not Stupid to Travel Solo
Several more links at Journeywoman: Be Brave – Go Solo
India specific: Charu of Butterfly Diary: Is Travelling to India Really Safe?