Stop asking me why I travel solo. People love to inundate solo female travelers with horror stories, cautionary tales, and terrifying scenarios. Stop it! Solo female travel should not be accompanied by fear-based advice. Solo female travelers should not have to endure interrogations because they’ve decided to actualize their self-determined choices. I refuse to believe that these intentions are not rooted in misogyny, sexism, and paternalism. They totally are. Solo female travel is not a threat to my life. The greatest threat to my life is a male intimate partner. I am more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than a fellow tourist, locals, staff or taxi drivers. We tell women to fear strangers when, statistically, we are safer with them.
Solo travel is my preferred form of travel because it allows me to have complete autonomy over my time, energy and resources. If I want to stay inside my hotel and watch Netflix, I can do that without feeling any guilt. I’ve noticed people are more likely to approach me when I’m alone. Solo travel enables me to immerse myself in my surroundings and forge authentic connections. It’s the most liberating experience I’ve ever had. When I went to Colombia, I was often mistaken for an Afro-Colombiana. To travel solo is to awaken parts of myself that have been buried by patriarchal violence.
Personally, I believe advising women against solo travel is rooted in control, not concern. If people really cared, why aren’t they funneling donations into domestic violence shelters? Why aren’t they fighting for equal pay since I earn 38% less than a white man for the same amount of work? Safety is expensive. Are you willing to pay medical expenses, paid time off and relocation costs for women since you care so much about our safety? If my safety and well-being at home isn’t a priority to you, why bother giving unsolicited advice under the guise of “caution?” Threats of sexual violence are entirely about exerting dominance and control. People are more fixated on women inheriting the onus of sexual assault prevention rather than creating a world where men are reprimanded for their violence against women.
I’m not scared. Nothing about solo travel is scary to me. From bungee jumping above the cloud forest to riding in Ubers in Medellín, I’ve had incredible experiences being a guest. I don’t haggle because I believe it’s unethical and tacky. I enjoy watching people live their regular lives. I love adventure and thrill because it’s fun! The relationships I build while traveling have transformed my life. In a world that is hostile, violent and oppressive to women, solo female travel feels like resistance. Solo travel is akin to breaking chains. I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to deprive myself of new and exciting experiences because of fear. I will continue documenting myself being unafraid, carefree and happy! Stay pressed.