I’ve been traveling internationally on a consistent basis since 2013. Sometimes I go with friends, with small groups, or with my boyfriend. Most of the time, I’m traveling solo. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea, and to be honest, I and all solo female travelers are sick and tired of hearing about it.
Here are 10 things I’ve heard, more than once, from people when they find out I travel solo in Asia, Africa, oh, really anywhere in the world. The coinciding responses are what I’m thinking and my head and want to tell people, but my mom taught me not to be rude.
“It’s not safe for a woman to travel alone.”
Oh, really? Please tell me more about how unsafe a country you’ve never been to, and probably know nothing about, is.
I actually do a lot of things alone when I’m at home. I go hiking, drive myself to work, go grocery shopping, should I be afraid of doing those things too?
Come on people, is anything actually safe? We all drive cars everyday and car accidents are one of the leading causes of death, but we still drive. We’re only here for a short period of time, why not really enjoy it?
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“Why are you going to that country? It’s not safe there.”
Yes, I’m going to that country. Just because you’ve heard things on the news about a certain country or culture doesn’t make them true. Stop pressing your stupid opinions on me and open your mind to other ways of life and points of view.
The culture, race, or religion in a country does not make it a bad place to visit. Does it make it different? Yes. Will I be uncomfortable when I visit because things are different? Maybe. But being uncomfortable results in growth and changing of opinions, so I’ll take that any day over being stagnant.
Addressing the safety aspect, right before I went to Egypt people were freaking out because there was a bombing at a church in Cairo. A couple weeks before that happened some white dude brought a gun into a Black church and shot a bunch of people, how is that any different?
“Where is your boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other/husband/wife?”
Oh my boyfriend? He’s at home because he doesn’t like to travel as much as I do. Not that that’s ANY of your business.
“What does (do) he/she/they think about you traveling alone?”
He thinks it’s awesome that I’m a strong independent woman who can make her own choices, and loves that I’m a solo female traveler
He also doesn’t own me or tell me what to do because if he did I wouldn’t be with him in the first place.
“Don’t you get lonely?”
Yes, sometimes I do get lonely, but in those moments I realize how truly strong I am as a person. Those times help me grow as a person, and then I go out and do something awesome to remind myself that I’m in complete control of my destiny.
Plus, I stay in hostels so I can meet new people while I’m traveling. I’ve had the privilege of spending some really amazing days people I’ve met at hostels. Some of those have turned into friendships that span the globe.
“Whenever I see a woman eating alone in a restaurant it makes me so sad. That’s going to be you.”
First of all, a woman eating alone in a restaurant isn’t sad. A woman eating alone in a restaurant is one of the most powerful things I can think of. This is because people that ask questions like this put so much pressure and judgment on women eating alone that it takes courage to do it.
Solo female travelers that eat alone are my heroes, and they should be yours too.
“What if you get robbed/raped/murdered?”
What if I get hit by a bus? I can’t control everything around me no matter where I am in the world.
If anything bad ever happens to me while I’m traveling just remember that I’m out living lives on my own terms, exploring and interacting with cultures different from my own.
“Is this your Eat, Pray, Love moment?”
No, it’s not my Eat, Pray, Love moment. I just really enjoy traveling and I am fully aware of the person I am. But if it was my Eat, Pray Love moment, and I was struggling with finding myself it would be really obnoxious to ask. Instead, try being supportive of the life I’m choosing to lead.
“You’re so brave.”
Am I? I can’t decide whether you are saying this as a compliment or a slight.
Honestly, if going somewhere solo makes me brave then every person I know that drives to work, lives alone, or really does anything by themselves is brave.
In my opinion, solo female travelers aren’t brave we just know what we want from life.
“Why don’t you spend your money on something with more purpose like getting married and having children?”
Of all the things people have told me about traveling solo this one gets me the most aggravated. Why in this day and age, are people still pushing this “traditional” way of life of on others.
I’ve been married, and frankly, I feel like it’s overrated. But if someone wants to get married, go for it. I don’t want kids because there are already too many people on the planet and I don’t want to contribute to overpopulation. Kids are also super expensive and time-consuming. You can call me selfish if you want, but at least I’m thinking this through instead of jumping into having kids then forcing a child to live a life they have no control over.
Don’t respond to people like this.
While it was fun to write all my brutally honest answers to these questions down. Don’t respond to people like this, as much as you may want to. When people ask me a question like this I try my best to educate them on solo female travel. People that have never experienced solo travel don’t know how freeing it is. Help them understand and if they don’t walk away and live your best life.