Solo Female Travellers of the World, Unite
The negativity towards solo female travellers really cripples my nipple. The concern from loved ones, the biased portrayal from the media and that raised eyebrow you get from complete strangers really aggravates my inner urge to pipe up. Society just seems to think that females shouldn’t travel alone.
At the ripe old age of 18, I ventured to Europe without a Contiki tour package. My best friend and I did it by ourselves: we saved the money and booked our flights and left, with no itinerary. We blew wherever the wind took us for six months. I understand the concern that this raised within my family and friends: it had nothing to do with age – just the pure thought of two girls with no life experience exposing ourselves to the big bad world. But I was never going to gain that experience from books and lectures – I wanted to put myself out there and learn from what was put in front of me.
When I was overseas, I was the lowest in the social feeding chain. If anyone wanted to take advantage of a traveller, their victim would more than likely be me. A white, baby-faced blonde with an open mind – I was as vulnerable as a newborn baby. And I thought I was the luckiest person in the world because, in two years of travelling abroad, I never had that negative experience that everyone feared would happen.
It wasn’t until I travelled my own country that I began to feel unsafe. I was alone in my van travelling the east coast of Australia when a group of inebriated males started abusing me through the window and shaking my car. They threatened ludicrous things like, “I’ll knife ya if you don’t sleep with me, ya cunt.” My car battery was flat and all I could do was sit inside and listen. I can blame myself for being parked in a public area and not having my curtains closed (and maybe falling asleep with the keys in the ignition…oops), but that’s not what it should come down to. It’s not my fault that a bunch of creeps threatened to knife me.
Female travellers are not purposely subjecting themselves to danger. We just have the ladyballs to take the risk because we understand that travelling is worth it. And if something does happen, it’s just another case of bad luck: it could happen to anyone, but today it was me.
Then again, I’ve met so many lovely female solo travellers who won’t get drunk or go to a hostel without good security and a 24-hour reception. They won’t do certain things because there’s a possibility of danger. They live with fear; it’s in the back of every action. I understand that this is considered a necessary precaution and probably the smartest thing to do. But it’s also very sad. These girls can’t fully enjoy themselves because the fear they hold is that of society: you’re just a girl and you can’t.
Trying to communicate to people that I’m confident in travelling on my lonesome becomes a war of words and all that I really want to say to the doubtful is that they’re closed-minded, stereotypical, misogynist jerks. Go ahead, warn me of the unfortunate events that you think may take place. I appreciate your concern and I’ll definitely take your nonsense into consideration, but I’m not going to live my life in fear – because that will make me just like you.
Cover by Jordan Donaldson