Making up your mind and gathering courage what is needed to backpack as a woman for the first time. There will be hundreds of questions about safety, managing solo, if it was boring, etc. Here are a few myths and assumptions about girls travelling solo that are wrong.
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1. It’s dangerous out there-
This is a common doubt that comes up. Friends, family keep advising that it’s dangerous out there. They bomb you with recent news of crimes from the daily newspaper or news channels. Unlike the common belief, it is safe and one needs to practice some common sense. Staying safe on the road is all about trusting your intuition. Would you walk alone at night, sit at an empty bar even when you are in your home town? No, right, the same precaution needs to be followed when one hits the road.
2. Don’t interact with strangers-
There are also many strangers who have become such good friends. Some have been so inspirational that they inspire to be a better person. There are also those who ended being rescuers. One obviously needs to be careful when meeting new people just like in general life.
3. Don’t drink local water-
Many city folk keep insisting on drinking bottled water saying local water could make them fall sick. Local water in many parts of the Himalayas especially is actually glacier water. Why do you need packaged drinking water? Save up those extra bucks and refill your bottle with the local water.
4. Sexual harassment-
This one is the most common myth and is also one of the main reasons women dread traveling alone. Ask any women, anywhere in the world and I can promise you that she has experienced sexual harassment in her own city. It is sadly a part of a woman’s everyday life. Rather than warning women, it would be more proactive to give advice on how best to avoid or manage it.
5. A woman can’t be a solo traveller-
Women do face unique difficulties while travelling. That does not mean a woman can’t be a solo traveller. One needs to obviously use their intuition and stay out of trouble. Yes, solo travel as a women does carry some risks, but it’s not as dangerous as it’s made out to be.
6. You will be lonely-
One of the scariest things, one comes across when starting to solo travel is the thought of being alone. But the truth is that one actually ends up making more friends on the road than they did in a year back in the city. You will end up meeting a lot of people who will change your life.
Yes, you will get homesick once in a while and miss the comfort of your home. But just keep going and you will realise that solo travelling ends up making you brave.
8. Need to be single to travel solo-
You can’t date someone or be married and travel solo. Women these days are proudly breaking these myths and travelling despite having a family back home. You can stay committed and still travel solo. It is a common myth to assume that if one travels solo, they don’t have a significant another or have problems in their relationships. People who are in a relationship can also travel solo for various reasons.
9. How long will you do this-
How long will you travel solo? Someday, you will end up needing someone full time. Someday you will wish for a companion. Solo travel offers freedom and independence that does not come when you’re with a another person or in a group.
10. It’s meaningless-
You get this a lot of times, that travelling solo is meaningless. That you should get married, start a family, be ladylike. That travelling is temporary and someday you’ll have to settle down. Travel is fatal to prejudice and narrow mindedness and hence one needs to embark on a solo trip and feel the difference.
The points above are to help you get some courage over your fears and conquer the year.
Text by Vijaya Nair
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