“Are you travelling alone? " .... “Yes, I am” .... “Oh, wow you’re brave for a girl”.
The amount of times I have had this conversation is crazy, and I’m kind of tired of hearing it by now. There's still a negative stigma surrounding women travelling solo, and I say we need to destroy it. Without solo travel I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Prior to my first solo travel trip, I had just finished my first year of university. It was supposed to be the best year of my life but, that was far from the case. I really didn’t enjoy myself, I spent most of the year in my bedroom and was bed bound for 3 months with sickness. It’s safe to say this really took a toll on my confidence and I wasn’t in the happiest of places.
However, I had my first solo trip to Japan in the summer (which had been my dream for since I can remember) and I was ready to take on the challenge. From the start, I was faced with a series of obstacles – from nearly missing my connecting flight due to delays and my luggage being left in Dubai.
I really began to question myself ‘Am I able to do this?’ Little did I know how wrong I would be. Despite my doubts, my time spent in Japan was simply amazing.
In just 2 weeks I had completely pushed myself out of my comfort zone from visiting a traditional Japanese hot spring and stripping off naked in front of strangers (trust me it is nowhere near as weird as it sounds) to belting out the spice girls on the karaoke, to eating all kinds of foods I couldn’t pronounce and drinking far too much sake. I left Japan the strongest I had ever been, with a new-found sense of independence and ready to take on the world! Gone was the girl who would stay on her own in her university room all day and now stood a woman.
Since then I’m always looking for new ways to push myself to my limits and find new challenges to conquer. So far, I’ve spent a month teaching English in Sri Lanka, moved to Budapest to study abroad for a year, signed up to a charity trek to Everest base camp and I am not stopping there. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this had it not been for solo travel. I trust in my own decisions more and I am ready for anything.
Despite what the media or others say to you about female travel being dangerous, scary, unsafe or how you’re brave for a girl – this is far from the case. Travelling solo is liberating. It has really empowered me and will empower you as a woman allowing to achieve things you never thought to be possible.
Has solo travel empowered you as a woman? Share your stories with us here and you could see your work published on six-two…