So I’m currently sitting in the Houston airport prepping to hop another across-the-pond trip. I’ve made this trip COUNTLESS of times … but this time is for me… not work…and it’s not a piggy-back from work so I’m stoked. This will be the first time in years that I’m literally leaving it all behind. No work. I’ve normally travelled by myself for small jaunts whilst I was in Europe…My ex-husband and I got to see a great deal of the world together as well…so I’m just continuing on with my passions — namely travel.
As I was gearing up to take this trip I’d happily and excitedly tell people that I’m headed to Iceland — first question out of their mouths 9 out of 10 times was “who are you going with?” And 100% of the reactions after I told people I was going solo was “oh my! that’s so brave!” — or something to that extent — and the majority of those reactions are from women. This makes me think that sometimes, for all the forward strides we’ve made in women’s rights, it still strikes people as strange when we actually EMBRACE that independence and put it to use outside of our professional lives. I give my family a break on this because they’re legitimately concerned for my safety and, well, that’s what families do — worry about their loved ones. However, strangers, acquaintances and friends alike all still hold, if not an overt then a small, “old school” mentality that women are creatures that need to be protected. I don’t discount that we need to take extra precautions — I’m not naive to the dangers of the world; I’ve traveled enough to see some things — but I do still think it’s a double standard.
On the other side of that coin, a lot of women expressed their envy that I travel the world solo — they have expressed to me, word for word, that they “are jealous” that they “wish (they) could do what I do.” And some of these women are my age or younger. This really strikes me as odd because WHO in their lives ever told them that they CAN’T travel the world alone?
It seems to me that, as I mentioned, women really have made a lot of progress in the area of our professions — granted we have a ways to go — but a lot of “women’s rights” focus has been placed on things such as abortion, equal pay, bathroom use, etc…I want to take it to another level — I want women to feel empowered enough to be OKAY with being alone in life situations. By ‘alone’ I mean self-sufficient and street-savvy. If we want equality, we need to be able to empower our daughters, nieces, god-daughters etc with the self-confidence that they can do whatever they want in life — travel, have a family, rise to CEO, choose how to handle their bodies in crises, live abroad/another state, whatever. If we are going to continue with equality fight, we need to add the caveat that with independence comes great responsibility not only to ourselves, but to generations to come – and that includes the confidence that women can do things on their own..alone..solo.
Women traveling alone do have to have an extra “spideysense” so to speak — but these are things we can equip our youth with…these are things we can instill into our young girls (and boys) so that when they decide they want to take a trip to Dubai or Columbia or Iceland and tell people about it, the reaction won’t be “you’re doing this on your own? you’re so brave.” Yeah, it’s brave, but so is saving someone from drowning in an icy river. Let’s just put it all on the same level. Women who travel alone are definitely strong AF…but not crazy as the reactions I’ve received have indicated.