This writer recently embarked on a trip to Ireland for a story, and then headed off the beaten path to do some exploring, solo. Traveling alone abroad certainly affords a tremendous amount of freedom, as well as the need for self-reliance, but for a woman, it can also be a rather daunting experience. The Cut recently posted an interesting, reflective story about the issues and perceptions facing a woman traveler. Yes, the piece acknowledges, it is scary and sometimes dangerous to be a solo female traveler, but instead of looking at her with potential, society views her with concern and pity. "She couldn’t find anyone who wanted to come along?" Ann Friedman writes in the article, adding, "(In case you had any doubt that traveling couples are the default, consider how most hotels and other travel bookings cater to pairs.) And if she seems to be having a good time, we’re even more confused. What is she hiding? She must be faking it."
After visiting Ireland, Friedman's words ring true: Male travelers (especially those from America) were treated like the carefree adventurers they were — offered extra pints, easily engaged in conversations with anyone. As a solo female, however, this writer found herself being treated more gingerly, as a pity-inducing loner. "Are you sure that's the whiskey you want?" One cab driver even remarked that it was a shame such a pretty girl couldn't find someone to take her around.
The best part of the article, however, is when Friedman heads to Japan and embraces the goofy, awkward foreigner she can't help but be — and as soon as she stopped trying to prove how together she was, she was able to loosen up and have fun. The narrative of a woman adventuring out there solo should be one of exhilaration, not of concern. Not all of us are hitting the open road to escape heartbreak or tumult — some of us just like to travel. (The Cut)
Photo: Via The Cut