Dear ladies who want to travel the world solo,
The tragic events we’ve recently been following regarding the murder of female British backpacker Grace Millane has been playing on my mind and I’m sure yours.
As a solo female traveller, I of course felt a pang of fear and worry after hearing the news, but then I took a step back to think about the situation and how it might effect how I travel. Many people asked if I would be cancelling my upcoming working holiday in New Zealand or if I’m now regretting the decision to travel on my own.
My answer is no.
Here’s the thing about the media, it allows us access to information and news we would never have had 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Solo travel is actually safer now than it has ever been, but because we now get fed these types of stories through our social media and TV’s, we are controlled by fear and worry.
The truth is, in the grand scheme of things, murders, rapes, kidnappings and violence against women happen every single day on your doorstep. The fact that this young woman was travelling alone around the world is a detail that should not matter. What matters is that an evil man took her innocent life and that is all there is to it.
Here in the UK, we wake up to news reports of missing people, stabbings, murders, violence and rioting every day. Seriously, turn on the news right now and see how much violence there is in the world.
My point in telling you this isn’t to scare you more, it is to put things into perspective. Do not let the actions of one man dictate how you live your life. If you want to travel solo, then go and do it.
The truth is, it is not as dangerous as the media makes out. Backpackers don’t get killed or go missing everyday. In fact, tens of thousands of young people from the UK alone go backpacking every year and a large number of those are female. If you add this to the rest of the world, you could be looking at millions of female solo travellers living their best lives without risk or harm.
Unfortunately, as women, whether travelling or not, we take a risk that many men do not take. Although society likes to pretend that we have progressed in the world of women’s rights, we still have a very long way to go. The ideals and misogynistic way of thinking is so deeply rooted in various cultures, not just the UK, that as women, we do face a greater risk of harm than our male counterparts.
- A woman should be able to see the world without the risk of harm
- A woman should be able to wear what she feels comfortable in without the risk of harm
- A woman should be able to us popular dating apps to go out on dates and meet new people without the risk of harm
- A woman should be able to wear whatever underwear she likes without risk of harm
- A woman should be able to walk down the street without fear and risk of harm
- A woman should be able to leave her keys in her pocket instead of keeping them in her fist incase of a risk of harm
- A woman of age should be able to to absolutely everything a male of the same age feels comfortable and safe doing without the risk of harm
What we need to know as women, is that we have as much right as anyone to travel the world, use dating apps and talk to new people without potential violence. When atrocities like this happens, we should be blaming the actions of the criminal, not the victim.
If you are still fearful of travelling alone as a female, then take precautions to ease your anxiety. These could be things like carrying a rape alarm, tell someone you trust where you are going and set up ‘find my phone’, avoid sketchy parts of town when you can and never carry your most valuable belongings with you in plain sight (These things sound so ridiculous but it will help you to feel safer).
Should we HAVE to take all these precautions, no, of course not. But the current world we live in means that we have to be clued up anyway. The cold hard facts are that no matter what, women are at more risk than men, but this does not mean that we should be locked inside our homes in fear of being attacked, that’s when these monsters win the war.
Fear may keep you safe, but it also keeps you prisoner
So, ladies that are afraid to travel solo, I say this.
- Don’t be afraid, as women we look after each other and there are more good people than bad.
- We haven’t yet created an equal world, but it is safer than you think and you are at the same amount of risk in your own home town as a town on the other side of the world.
- Never let evil win and stop you from living a life you dream of.
- Keep planning that amazing and awesome trip and say a massive FUCK YOU to anyone that wants to stand in your way or create a negative experience for you.
We may be solo female travellers, but we are some of the strongest, savvy and adventurous people you will ever meet. We are a force to be reckoned with and we will be stopped by no man.