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 Beauty of Barrow

I’ve dreaded this trip to Barrow.

A month ago, I volunteered to work here. This is completely my doing.

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But in the interim weeks, I’ve been barraged by memories of my last trip. The tales of recent suicides. The scarcity of trees and greenery. The abundance of intoxicated people walking around in this dry town. The $4.00 apple.

And then I read a couple of current articles in the paper about Barrow. About the nice district attorney I’d worked with who was murdered a few months ago in a domestic violence incident. And the skyrocketing amount of violent crime like rapes and domestic violence, fueled by insane amounts of bootlegged alcohol and drugs.

Seriously? What was I thinking?

Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep until after midnight, and when I finally drifted off, I had a nightmare about bedbugs biting me over and over again.

I didn’t unwind my curls until I took my seat on the plane and buckled up for the long flight.

Then I sat behind an Alaska Native youth who’d just finished high school, and was on his way home after his graduation trip in Hawaii. His sweet smile could melt the thick ice. He had a red baseball cap, red tennis shoes, and a ukulele that he played for the passengers’ enjoyment.

Other passengers asked him questions:

QUESTIONS

  • What does whale blubber taste like?
  • What will you do for fun later?
  • When was the last time you saw polar bears?
ANSWERS

  • “A great texture, and tastier than steak.”
  • “Today, I’ll get on my three -wheeler and hunt geese.”
  • “The weekend we got a whale. They come in to share.”

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He didn’t say too much, but he represented well. And then there was Anne Morrow Lindberg, the fabulous writer who detailed her trip to Barrow in 1931 in her first book North to the Orient. In Barrow, met a family who proudly displayed a tomato plant, acknowledging the plant would never grow in Barrow since there wasn’t enough sun and the tomato was rooted mostly in sand, “but the leaves grow and we can smell it.  Even the smell of growing vegetables is good to us,” she explained at the time.

It’s all perspective.

I’m grateful to be back in Barrow. To be back to old friends and gorgeous sites and the possibility of polar bears, but mostly to be among people who know the value of looking at the glass half-full.

What are you grateful for lately?