Should a woman travel solo? India is a complicated country, and yet it is also a place of inconceivable beauty and warmth. To be honest, there is no secret to staying safe while travelling. It is a process of being wise and keenly listening to your instincts. Keep in mind that this issue of staying safe while travelling is part of a larger issue at hand: what it means to simply be a woman in any part of the world. The threats facing female travellers are things that women all around the globe have been dealing with their entire life. Nevertheless, sometimes the hardest person to convince is yourself, but it’s okay- let us help you. Here are six things that every woman should know before she decides to travel solo-
1. People Will Treat You Like A Kid
People will keep asking if you’re really travelling solo, and be surprised that you are, and generally act like you need someone to rely on or protect you. People still have a strange mentality about women not knowing enough to travel alone, and you’ll have to constantly prove them wrong. Believe it or not, you’ll feel happy knowing that they will never have the satisfaction of saying, “I told you so”.
2. People Will Look Out For You
You’ll be surprised at how concerned locals and other travellers will be for your well-being. People will take extra care of you because you are a woman who is travelling alone, they will make sure that you have a taxi or ride back to your hostel at night, they will open the doors of their homes to make you feel comfortable and above all, safe. It always feels good to have that added security that people are looking out for you.
3. Street Harassment Exists Everywhere
It’s easy assume that your city of destination is going to be a magical land of respect and gender equality and no street harassment whatsoever, but this is never the case. It will come in different forms—and some, like in Bihar or Delhi, will be unbearably. But it will always be there. It’s an unfortunate reality about the world we live in. Catcalling will unfortunately be part of your international/national travelling experience. Don’t create stereotypes about a particular city or country. There is no point of travelling if you have already made up your mind about that place.
4. Love Exists Everywhere, Too
One of the great things about travelling solo is that anything can happen. You’ll come across women who long to tell their stories and men who have worked every day for years to make sure their children have proper education. There is something about travelling that puts you in the “whatever happens, happens” mentality, in terms of taking chances. You are most likely to fall in love with the ideas of people and their intricate emotions.
5. Your Best Moments Will Be Alone
By far the best individual moments you will experience will come as a result of being alone, not in spite of it. You’ll find yourself wandering an unknown street, or sitting by a river, or in front of a cafe, and everything will feel so different than it has before. It should be scary, in theory, but somehow it’s not at all. You’ll have nowhere pressing to go, and no one to answer to, and can just take immense pleasure in being by yourself. For an hour or so, it’s like you don’t exist at all—you’re just a face in the crowd thinking of where you want to eat dinner that night, and nothing will be able to replace an experience like that.
6. The “ You’re A Woman” Logic Should Never Stop You
It is amusing how narrow-minded people can be, even in 2016. Don’t let your gender become the reason why you choose not to travel. Travelling solo is one of the most enriching experience- go listen to different kind of music, meet people from different cultural backgrounds, learn to stay alone and most of all, prove people wrong.
Safety plays the most important role and your trip should always be planned around locations that are safe. In any way you feel threatened, remember two things. Firstly, if you think something weird just happened, it probably did; and secondly, make sure you speak up! Speaking up is always the best thing to do. Every time you doubt yourself, repeat this one sentence in your head, “I should go see the world. It’s mine as much as it is yours”.
Feeling motivated yet? Yes, so what are you waiting? Check out what Terrain Travellers are offering!