Being a solo female traveler, albeit generally very safe, does have certain setbacks. One is that other people cannot believe you are a solo female traveler. In most parts of the world, it will be assumed that you are a “woman for hire.” I find it’s best not to tell people you are traveling alone.
While you may think you’re making your mark on feminism, you’re really a weapon of mass destruction to the social order of 98% of the world. You’re upsetting the core belief of many societies all at once: Women are property of men and cannot self sustain. I’ll admit it does put a little smile in my heart.
You’re making an impact, but you’ll want to play your cards carefully if you want an expedited hotel check-in or to make friends with locals quickly. Take care of yourself and let society deal with their own limitations. Never let them see you coming. Feminism is like cooking eggs — slow, low and steady wins the race. Never turn off the gas, but also try not to scorch the pan in the first two minutes.
I don’t believe the world is more unsafe for women than men — in certain situations perhaps, but on the whole, it evens out as people are more apt to help a solo woman than a strange foreign man. Take pre- cautions, blend in, observe before acting, know your environment, mark your exits, and make sure you have safe transportation and someone who knows where they are going, i.e. preferably not a fellow foreign male traveler.
I believe that the future of travel is women. While businessmen have had their monopoly on travel, it’s women who are going to have the greatest impact on travel going forward and the world will be a better place for it. I find that women are generally more curious and better at adapting to different environments than men are and more socially conscious when doing so. Our connection with the world and other women in it is key to moving things forward.
You’ve come a long way baby, and you’re about to go a lot further.
This blog is an excerpt from Carry On Only: Confessions from 100 Countries. To purchase the digital book, please click here. To purchase a print edition magazine, please click here. To have more vicarious adventures with Jill Paider, please click here.
Next Post in this Series: Sunday, December 17th at 10 a.m. EST / 9 a.m. CST / 7 a.m. PST