Welcome to the Revolution
I have a question for my fellow female travel bloggers. How many times have you told a story about your latest trip and heard “I could never do that.”
Before traveling cross-country, I opened up to my therapist about some anxiety I was having. Near the end of the conversation I admitted “I could never do this trip without Adam. Thank god he will be there in case something goes wrong.” My therapist looked at me with a confused look. He asked “why couldn’t you make this trip solo?” I responded with the obvious blank stare. “You’re resourceful, intelligent, and completely capable” he told me. Part of me was surprised to hear someone say that to me. Although traveling was one of my favorite things to do, I never considered that I could do it alone. To be fair, to be scared of my surroundings was the message I had received my entire life.
So, where is it that women are receiving this message?
Recently I started reading My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. A particular excerpt inspired me to create this post.
My last hope is to open up the road- literally. So far it’s been an overwhelmingly masculine turf. Men embody adventure, women embody hearth and home, and that has been pretty much it…..Even the dictionary defines adventurer as ‘a person who has, enjoys, or seeks adventures,’ but adventuress is ‘a woman who uses scrupulous means in order to gain wealth or social position.’
Often, men are seen as bold and adventurous for their solo pursuits. Women do not receive the same praise. They are most often seen as irresponsible risk takers for traveling alone. If a woman is traveling alone (or even with a female friend) and is attacked, people tend to blame the woman, not the attacker. Sound familiar?
When two backpackers were killed in Argentina last year, they were so unreasonably attacked for traveling alone that an open letter titled ‘Yesterday I Was Killed’ went viral. Statistics don’t lie, violence against women is real and it’s happening all over the world. But traveling alone isn’t the reason why, it’s the environment that women exist in.
In assault cases, blame is consistently cast upon women and not the attacker. It’s no secret that girls are growing up in a sexist environment. We are taught that we need to take extra precautions in order to be safe. When we don’t, we’re blamed. When we do, we’re still blamed. The joys of womanhood.
Here’s some good news! More women are showing that they are not afraid to travel alone. The hashtag viajosola (“I travel alone”) now has over 25,000 posts on Instagram. Badass female travel bloggers like The Blonde Abroad and Adventurous Kate are helping to break the stigma that women shouldn’t travel solo. Photographer Emily Blincoe, is constantly embarking on some seriously rad solo (if you don’t count her adorable dog, Eleanor) adventures. All of these ladies are pretty incredible. I definitely recommend checking them out for some inspiration.
I have yet to take a solo adventure of my own. But I have faith that someday I will take the leap.
What do you fellow travelers think? (Male or female) what has empowered you to travel? If you don’t get to travel as much as you’d like, what is holding you back? Share your thoughts with me.