I have a secret that I am ashamed to share, but I feel like I have to.
I hear the terrible news about female travelers getting murdered, beaten or raped abroad. Their names are seared into my memory. I think, and others vocalize, “How did they get themselves into that situation?” As if it is their fault. As if they purposefully put themselves into a situation to end up in the headlines and leave their families at a loss.
I’ve made some mistakes in the past as a solo traveler. I take on a “travel personality” and become much more carefree. I’ve gone off with foreigners I just met. I’ve drank too much when I was traveling alone. I’ve wandered aimlessly in neighborhoods I wouldn’t attempt back home. I haven’t done enough research about the places I was staying. I’ve argued with con men. I tell myself I’m being bold and adventurous when I’m really being reckless and stupid. While I hypocritically dole out solo travel advice, I ignore my inner wisdom. I ignore the voice of my mother, saying “Be careful.” Sometimes I think I’m just asking for something bad to happen to me. But I’d like to change that now.
I promise to no longer put myself in unnecessary danger. I promise not to attempt anything I wouldn’t do back home. I promise to keep my promises to my family. I promise to set an example for other female travelers.
Have you ever been unnecessarily reckless when you travel alone?
- Dear Dad: Please Don’t Worry (A Treatise on Solo Female Travel), A Dangerous Business
- Travel Safety is Not a Gendered Issue, Matador Network
Note: There are hundreds of good solo travel-related posts in wake of the Sarai Sierra case, so look up the #WeGoSolo Facebook page and Twitter hashtag for more. If you’re considering solo travel, I highly recommend Stephanie Lee’s guide to solo travel.