The idea of going somewhere alone, being completely by yourself in a foreign place – far or near – is scary stuff. It’s a lot. There is no one to guide you, tell you what to do or where to go, no one to turn to when you’re not sure what to do. All you have is yourself. Just lil ol’ you.
There can be a lot of hesitation towards solo travel, especially as a woman. So many women – too many women – don’t even feel comfortable walking home alone at night, and it’s so unfortunate. There’s a level of vulnerability women have to deal with that a lot of men don’t even have to worry about. Regardless, I will be the first to encourage any woman to solo travel and tell her that it’s one of the most empowering and memorable experiences you can have in your life.
This past fall, I studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. I had so many goals for myself that I hoped to achieve over those four months, but one that was by far most important to me: to travel somewhere alone. Surprise!
When I casually slipped the idea into a phone call with my mom, I received the well-anticipated motherly lecture advising me not to do so.
“You just have to be really careful, especially as a woman,” she told me. “It’s more dangerous for us.”
And that was just it. I hated that she was right, but the fact that she was made me want to do it even more, and there was no way I’d let my gender be a part of the decision. So I booked a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark.
After a full weekend of wandering into cute coffee shops and stumbling upon random art museums, I became a full believer in the idea that every women needs to take a solo trip at least once in her life. Getting lost wherever you are (because it will happen, multiple times) you’ll begin to realize that you’re actually capable of so much more than you ever realized. You can handle sh*t. You learn you’re able to not only survive but thrive in a completely foreign environment completely alone. You feel a sense of unlimited worthiness and competence, like you’re fully able to exist and navigate the world as you are. Discovering this is one of the most empowering feelings I deeply hope every woman can experience one day.
It’s true that solo travelling can be dangerous, especially as a woman, as much as I don’t want to admit it. However, so can any other sort of travel – alone or not, woman or not– you have to be careful; don’t succumb entirely to the incredibly real wanderlust aspect of it all. Be smart. Make smart decisions and trust your instincts. If you do, it will undoubtedly be a magical and incredibly empowering experience…maybe even inspiring you to write another article like this.