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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Georgiou

Women travelling Solo. So it's our responsibility to keep safe?!

 

How is everyone holding up with the first week of the year almost complete?


Anyone reading my last blog of 2023 would have read that I had an intention to travel as much as I can in 2024. When I was younger, I had limited opportunity to do this, so I am slowly but surely ticking places off I wish to experience off my list. I think travel and learning about different cultures is a huge factor in positive human connection and I love talking with others about their wanderlust!


I started to overthink and almost talked myself off the idea of booking a short holiday, which would coincide a prevalent time of year for me, that I would rather not be around going about my ‘normal’ daily business for. Money is tight, work commitments, the children/family responsibilities etc…BUT I overcome this, gave myself some self-care talk, remembered I am deserving and worthy of this break and began to research my next trip- hopefully next month!

BUT-frustratingly, do you know what has stood out for me whilst researching and again proves what a huge gender disparity there is in society, again hiding in plain sight, trojan horsed as something to be helpful to women, is how women travelling alone are perceived as ‘unsafe’.


Search engines were rife with articles of safe countries to visit for a solo woman traveller. What women must NOT do; Do’s and Don’t for women to have a nice but safe time abroad travelling on their own-obviously it is completely our responsibility. Whilst I respect that their will be cultural differences in many countries, and it is often respectful to be aware of this, surely the fact that there is a need for a volume of articles for women in this circumstance, equates to massive gender issues within society that are still very prevalent and ignored.

Out of curiosity and anger, I searched How to safely travel solo as a man. Whilst articles appeared (but a few scrolls down from automatic women safety articles first) they were more gender neutral around generic travel advice, but mainly they were advice articles about the best places to go for a man who are SINGLE, disregarding the solo and safety aspect completely.

So many attributes of a woman travelling solo, regardless of if they are single or not, are deemed as taboo, brave or foolish. It is deemed a risk. Why? If I was travelling to places of obscure weather or natural anomalies, this would be a risk to any traveller. But this is not the warning that is the undercurrent of most articles or advice-nor is it the reason that women feel that they must check if places are safe to visit. It is due to systemic, patriarchal, misogynistic, male orientated abuse and violence towards women, LGBTQ communities, and different ethnicities.


This was the nuance of most reviews I read, women desperately trying to reassure other women, that if we abide by all rules, maybe sometimes there may be a caveat, like pretending we are travelling with our husband, and he is waiting back at the hotel for us wink wink… lucky us aye! Or to use a toolkit of the usual ‘common sense’ tasks, don’t go out in the dark, keep to crowded well known and lit places, don’t wear jewellery, don’t look too nice, show too much skin etc, that we have been engrained to utilise since we were catapulted into society, that we could have a nice experience-but expect some bad apples and harassment regardless, and just try to shake it off.

Heaven’s forbid if a woman is assaulted or subjected to trauma when on holiday what the overall victim blaming response will be/is.


The risk is NOT women travelling on their own. The risk is abusive, majority male, entitled, dangerous perpetrator’s that have been accepted by society as a normal expectation to adapt to by their victims. Why should it be deemed as brave for women to want to travel? Fair enough if there are phobias or fears, or anxieties around practical travel, but this is not this type of ‘brave’ that is being acknowledged. This is the patronising, misunderstandings of perceived women’s characteristics that challenge the initial concept of independence, equity and equal rights for women and girls.

I must say it took the shine of my research for holiday preparations and the realisation that as a woman, I can’t be as spontaneous and adventurous as I would like to be. Firstly because of the emotional/practical workload I carry and expectations of others. Secondly because the world has presented as an unsafe place for women, which is sadly too often proven to be true.


 I am yet again reminded that the gender inequality in everyday life is very real. Even if it wasn’t real, (scoffs) the scaremongering within society and the media would make it so.

What are people’s experiences of travelling solo and thoughts around this? What challenges/barriers did you have to overcome or perhaps you didn’t have any?

I know there are some excellent travel experts in my connections, so I would love to hear the professional perspective on solo travel and differences in advising genders.

I will be booking my trip regardless. I will follow and use a toolkit for precautionary safety and hopefully I will have an exciting and empowering trip. I will keep you updated 😊

Have a great weekend, have some open discussions, push boundaries, and use your voice.


Love, the Feminist Ambivert. x



 

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