Solo Travel for Women/Are We Just Asking For It?

It’s a holiday weekend, and I am in the thick of planning my next solo travel adventure.


One thing I enjoy doing is making a friend or two in each place I visit. I keep in touch with them, and make a point of finding them in another part of the world later. So dear Australia, thank you for providing so many of your people that I have befriended. I hope to reunite with them in October!

I’m re-running my post about women traveling alone. If you haven’t already, feel free to buy A Girls Guide to Travelling Alone by Gemma Thompson on Amazon or on Itunes. I contributed one of the stories.

Have a relaxing week.


Recently, I enjoyed catching up with a friend who is back from several months of traveling overseas alone. I so admire women who stop waiting for someone to travel with and just do it. I asked her the usual:

    • Where’d you stay?
    • How did you stay on budget?
    • What did you pack?

She mentioned she brought the Morning After pill with her.Oh, I thought to myself. It never dawned on me to be that open socially that birth control would be necessary.“In case I got raped,” she then told me.My mouth fell open. She shrugged. “Just being practical.”I get it. I even admire it. But how awful that she should even have to think about it.

It made me wonder. How often do we women edit our lives choices due to the threat of male violence against us?

Be it work/career choices, how and when we exercise, and if and how we travel, are we living as free, emancipated citizens?

I notice the tone I get when I tell someone I’ll be traveling overseas alone again soon. It’s the same one as when I put on my boots at work and go for a walk on lunch hour in the dark. And since I live in Alaska, that’s pretty much all of the lunch hours I have in winter time.

That tone implies to me that if I am raped or assaulted while on a walk alone or traveling the globe, I will be a co-defendant in my own victimization.

That’s nuts.

Do you remember last February when Sarai Sierra, an American woman was murdered while traveling alone in Turkey?

The controversy sparked a storm of opinion about when and where it’s okay for a single woman to travel.

No controversy about worldwide violence against women. We’ve come to expect that.

I think Jodi Ettenberg at Legal Nomads said it best.

“US citizens die at home and, less frequently, they die in foreign countries. Stating that Sarai was murdered because she was abroad, as many comments have done, detracts from the real concern: that of violence against women worldwide.”

As an American woman, where am I most likely to be injured? Is it Turkey? Morocco? Mexico?

No, sadly. It’s in America. At home. With a loved one of my own choosing. One out of every four women in the US, and one in three women globally have been victims of domestic violence.

Women, are you interested in safely traveling alone?

Check out safety tips at Legal Nomads or Destination Unknown

 

Is your greatest safety risk in your interpersonal relationship with your partner? 

Call 1-800-SAFE for help. Let’s do everything we can to impact change so that our own daughters can live and move about freely and safely, wherever they choose. Please Like my Author page on Facebook! 

The Discipline of a Grateful Life

This week, I enjoyed reading Sam Gentoku McCree’s piece on Ten Steps to a Grateful Life.

Having a grateful life is a discipline.

photo 1It’s not difficult for my mood to tumble this time of year. It’s dark in Alaska for much of the day. My energy dips just as my work chaos soars. And then there are upcoming social functions associated with the holidays that I loathe given my crowd-averse nature.

But I’ve made a point of penciling in times of gratitude in my day to day life. I wake up ten minutes early each day to give thanks, and in doing so, realized how much I appreciate the surprise sources.

Case in point: I am naturally drawn to darker topics, so after much consideration, I decided to piece together the life and death of Muriel Pfeil, who died in 1976 in Anchorage. The story is everything I write about already: domestic violence, international child abduction, the works. The trouble is I don’t know her family or friends.

I got a couple of names through a friend of mine. Two lovely women who have been friends for sixty-plus years were gracious enough to take me to a Thanksgiving party hosted by the Alaskan Pioneers yesterday to do some digging around.

Yes, I actually signed up to hang out with a group of strangers and socialize.

Two hours later, I felt like a part of a great new supportive family. I’d been tentative when it began. ”I’m thinking about writing the story of…” but with the encouragement of my dear hostesses, I left with many new contacts and a greater conviction. I’m not thinking of writing the story of Muriel Pfeil. I am in the process of writing about Muriel Pfeil. And I so appreciate the support and enthusiasm of my new friends.

My daughters with cats
My daughters with cats

There are always the typical things I’m grateful for, like my wonderful daughters. They’re happy (mostly). They’re healthy. They’re working. I even managed to get one of them to move out of the house. I’m grateful for my kittens. My extended family and friends. My work. My health. My volunteer work.

But I’ve scaled back on some things and it’s given me time for a bit more rest, and for writing workshops and coaching. I have created space again.

Thanksgiving is here. What are you thankful for?

I’m always thankful to connect with you here.

PS– I learned that A Girl’s Guide to Travelling Alone by Gemma Thompson is now available on Amazon. I’m pleased to have my essay  titled Healing included.