Okay Okay, I’m sorry!! It’s been so long since I last wrote but I’ve been so busy and I am pretty sure that you don’t want to hear about my working days…..if you do, let me know in the comments. Haha. Maybe someone out there can help me with my lesson planning. Any takers?
I saw this article today from one of my favourite sites, Matador Network ( http://www.matadornetwork.com ) and it really resonated with me. In my last few nomadic years I have heard ALL of these, sometimes more than one in a conversation. People regardless of their country can not seem to get their heads around the fact that a woman would want to travel or that it is possible for a woman to travel by herself. Men do it all the time so why is it so different for a girl to do it? I really feel that this mindset, these preconceptions of what a girl is ‘supposed to do with her life’ and that women are helpless alone are really hindering the possibly adventures or broadening the possible horizons of many women…and while we are at it, men too.
I totally get it if you just don’t have want or desire to go out and travel the world, that’s totally fine and no one should judge you for it. Those are your choices! They are what is right for you and good on you for sticking to them. But I think if someone really wants to go, deep down but they are being held back by fear or a antiquated mindset of the people around them, then that is a tragedy. I’m not going to lie; you do get lonely, you do get scared, there are moments where you think “WHAT THE F$%K AM I DOING HERE?!!!” but then there are the moments you think, “What the F#$K am I doing HERE?!” Those precious moments that you wouldn’t change for all the world; watching the sunrise from the top of a volcano, listening to monks chants floating on the breeze, meeting people you would never have had the chance to meet and so many many more moments that you can’t put into words.
That’s it. I’m going to bed. I posted the original article below. I promise I will write my own post soon!! NIIIIGHTTT!!
8 QUESTIONS SOLO FEMALE TRAVELERS ARE SICK OF HEARING
1. “Why are you alone?”
Sometimes travelling alone is an anomaly. I get that. When I first landed in Athens, I climbed aboard an airport taxi with an older driver whose first question was, “Why are you alone?” He was genuinely perplexed. I could tell by his concern that he couldn’t understand how I’d find such an experience enjoyable. It was Greece — everything centers on family life there, and so the question wasn’t so offensive.
But I get the question all the time, from friends and strangers alike. Travelling alone as a woman shouldn’t be an anomaly. It implies that we are in harm’s way — that what we are doing is risky. Everything is risky. Life is risky. I appreciate the well meaning, but I like travelling solo. So many opportunities arise when you’re open to them.
2. “Aren’t you ever going to settle down?”
This question bothers me because it assumes that “settling down” is the proper way to live. I’m supposed to have a home on Cookie Cutter Lane with five babies and a shiny new Subaru. I should be home on Friday nights making dips and pairing them with cocktails. My parents really, really want grandkids.
No, I will not settle, not for anything. Maybe one day I’ll get married and pop out a child or two, but I will not settle. The role of matriarch and wife is very different for me. It does not involve coupon clipping or Saturday morning soccer coaching. If that’s the life you want and love, that’s awesome. But it’s not for everyone, and it will never be for me. That old American dream? It’s dead. Freedom is my dream.
3. “Don’t you know India [or any country] is dangerous for women?”
I recently posted a message on Facebook about how I was planning on volunteering in Bangalore. Within 30 minutes, I had several people message me to tell me that India treats its women like garbage, and if I go there, I’ll surely end up in a ditch somewhere with my throat slit.
Every country has its problems, but to rule out an entire nation because of a few grisly stories is insane. India has more than a billion people. It’s true that women can have terrible experiences in India, or any other country, but I’ve known more than a handful of women who have travelled such destinations alone, and have never experienced disaster. Bad things can happen anywhere. Generally, people are good.
4. “Aren’t you worried you’ll get attacked?”
Yes, I worry. Every time I have to walk back to my hotel or hostel after sunset, I worry a stranger will snatch me in the alleyway. Every time I get into a taxi alone, I worry the driver will have sinister motives.
But you know what? It’s the exact same fear I have when I’m home in Canada. There has never been an evening when I’ve walked home alone without having my keys out to stab somebody in the eyeball if they make a pass at me. To think that I am just as safe at home is ignorant. Being targeted because I’m a woman is a constant concern, but it’s not going to hold me back. It’s funny how people overlook the issues at home because of what they know from the media.
5. “What are you running from?”
On my six-month trip around the Balkans, everyone assumed I was running from a failed relationship, or some other disaster in my life. They were partially right. I was broken hearted, and I was seeking release. But I was also fleeing a conventional life. I was fleeing boredom and tedium and routine. I hated that people assumed my motivation for travel was escaping a life back home, as if I couldn’t get out there and carpe diem the crap out of life on my own.
On the other hand, if broken hearts are a way to see the world, so be it. While hiking around Santorini, a girl named Milly asked me if I were single. I said I was, and that I had no real intention of dating anyone anytime soon. We stood at the edge of the caldera watching the sun dip into the Aegean Sea, and we were silent for some time. She finally said, “I see a lot of girls travelling to get over failed relationships. I think it makes them braver.” One can only hope.
6. “Are you eating alone?”
There’s always a tinge of judgment in a waiter’s voice when the question is asked. I’ve embraced dining alone over the past year or so, and I’ve grown to love it. I bring a book or a magazine, or I sit and observe. In Kotor Bay, Montenegro, a waiter served me a cappuccino with a chocolate heart drawn into the creamy froth. He pointed to a man near the door. “For you,” the waiter said. The man at the door waved. And then we got to talking, which, as it turns out, is a lot easier when you’re alone. Eating alone does not make me a spinster.
7. “Do you ever get lonely?”
Yes. Don’t we all? I’ve spent nights curled up in a sleeping bag inside my cave on Santorini island, homesick for my friends and family. But then there are nights surrounded by new friends at the hostel bar, and you realize loneliness is just a concept.
8. “You couldn’t find anyone to go with you?”
Even if I was dating someone, it doesn’t mean he’d be on the trip with me. And if I had to sit around on my ass waiting for my indecisive friends to figure out their travel plans, I’d never get anywhere. I do have friends. I swear.