Women travelling alone raise so many eyebrows. Starting from home to everyone you meet on the journey. You have to deal with so much drama when you announce you are taking a solo trip. However, the intensity of such drama fades out with frequent trips, a few lies, and as you grow old. But no matter your age, you will always get these big questions about security and safety from your family. How will you manage alone and won’t you get bored- will come from friends! If you board a train, co-passengers will go all surprised – how come a woman travels solo? Later comes the stay host. They will also burden you with their curiosity.
On top of that, a solo traveller, a girl, becomes a huge deal for everyone. Everyone has a big question mark on their face, such as are your parents fine with you travelling alone? How do you manage alone, but none think of helping ease the trip? These questions are just judgments that come out of their conditioning. Instead of normalising the situation, which might have already scared the person to the shit, everyone makes it a big deal. These judgments only give you more anxiety. People look at you from the perspective that she might have had solid problems in her life or is on the run.
Women Solo Traveller From Orthodox Family
I have been a frequent solo traveller. A lot has changed in me since the first time I took my first solo trip. Last week I took another solo trip. Let’s start how it was four years back with my first solo trip. I lied to my family and friends about going out with office colleagues during an internship, but it was a full-fledged three-day solo beach vacation. I lied because I could see a ‘No’ coming my way. Another reason was demotivation; I was scared for the first trip. I have already revisited my decision several times. Telling it to people would have made it worse, anxieties were already kicking in. From packing bags to leaving the house was one roller coaster ride of fear, excitement, guilt, and pride.
Every woman who dared to take their first solo vacation in her early twenties might have gone through similar emotions. The lies cooked eventually end up with guilt. One chooses to take an adventure, but guilt lessens the joy. Why does it happen? Despite getting what you want and making decisions as you want, something in you remains unhappy. The three-day trip was not at all exciting, to be truthful. I enjoyed every part of it but was not happy. Because I was constantly reminded by people I met over the journey about –
‘A Girl Is travelling Solo, How Did You Parents Allow’.
That is when I first thought I was adult enough to make my own decisions and sensible enough to prioritise my safety. At that moment, I thought of my agency. I had to lie to attain my decision-making power, and I was also guilty. I may not be happy about the trip, but that trip changed me a lot.
What I learnt
Solo trips make you more confident. It genuinely gives you a feeling of being independent. The notion of how I will travel alone, stay alone, and have fun alone completely changes. Meeting new people, spending time embracing nature, learning the culture of natives, and taking care of your bills has the power to edit so much in you. People will make you reflect on your decision several times, but meeting co-travellers compensate for it. When they talk about their exploration of the world, a feeling of curiosity develops. That moment makes you forgive your worries, guilt, and fear. Every time I have come safely home. Safety concerns exist, but we women are smart enough to manage. There are limitations while being on a trip you do have to take care of lot many things, avoid a few places, and judge men before initiating a conversation. But that’s that if you have to be ready for it. The world is not full of bad people.
The same fear and guilt no longer exist; the last trip was my fourth solo trip. Among all four for a few I did lie, but this one was honestly told, but not to seek permission, only to respective fully assert my autonomy and let my loved ones know about my whereabouts. It was amazing, guilt-free. Although I already controlled my guilt feeling way back and understood for the freedom, we have to pay some cost.
Today, that has paid off, I am no more stopped from making such hasty decisions. The rebellion has come to an end. I am not scared of ‘No’ or demotivation I might get because I will do it anyhow. This time solo trip felt different, it was more mature and full all energy. Meeting co-travellers, spending time with yourself. If you get a chance to be on a solo trip or struggle to take one, don’t hesitate. Just Do It.
The views expressed are the author’s own.
Suggested Reading- As A Girl I Find My Calling In Solo Travel But I Prepare For It Hard