A few months ago I chose to quit my job for a better opportunity. Unfortunately, that opportunity didn’t work out and I ended up being unemployed instead. For months I regretted my decision, convincing myself that I shouldn’t have taken the risk, that I was fine where I was.
My choice was based on a foundation of stress, so maybe if I had pushed through it the result would have been different. But the truth is you can’t undo life-altering choices, because they are what make your life. The small daily unconscious choices, along with the monumental decisions, they make up the days we spend on this Earth. Sounds obvious doesn’t it. Yet quite often we forget the reasons behind our choices, because we’re blind to the effects they will have on our future.
Back to my example. At first I perceived my unemployment as a failure, but now I realize that it has been a true blessing. During this free time, unburdened by the stress of a full-time position, I was able to relax. I dedicated time to my hobbies, took care of my health, engaged in new activities, met different people and gained some perspective. In the end, it was my choice that brought me to where I am today and for the first time in almost a decade, I can honestly say I understand what it means to be calm.
In the fast-paced bustling 21st century world, women have grown to be more independent. That being the case, it is still seen as unusual for a woman to travel on her own. Whether that woman is originates from a Western or an Eastern culture, liberal or conservative, the question of “why are you travelling alone?” still arises. Friends and family worry about safety, while strangers might pity the lonesome traveller. However there are many advantages to travelling alone that are easily overlooked.
Why Travel Alone
Venturing off on your own and exploring the world is a liberating experience. You don’t have to stress over putting a group together, who would be able to go to the same place at the same time on the same budget, you don’t need to worry about compromising to accommodate someone else’s schedule, and you can change your plans on a whim, without concern for anyone else. While you might feel cut off by leaving their homes and loved-ones behind, the truth is you are never truly cut-off. When travelling alone you are able to embark on a journey of self-discovery, as well as meet new people at every stop. You can always find someone somewhere who is similar to you in some way.
Fear of feeling alone and bored can make you reconsider solo travel. “What am I going to do with my day?” is a common question among new solo travellers. The answer is: plenty. Being in a foreign country, where you are trying to absorb as much of the culture as possible in a limited amount of time, gives you plenty to do. There will always be a show to attend, a museum to explore or an underwater cave to discover, activities and amusements are abundant when visiting a new location. And if you run out of activities during your trip, you can seek companionship in a book or chronicle your adventures in a journal/blog.
Another major concern that faces, particularly women, is safety. Between pickpocketing and harassment, women are considered an easy target, especially when they are walking alone in an unfamiliar area. To avoid a gruesome fate, make sure you keep yourself and your belongings as safe as possible. This can be done by hiding your money inside your clothes instead of in your wallet. Don’t carry large sums of money when sightseeing or shopping, credit cards are preferable. Try to appear like you belong, so as not to attract any unwanted attention to yourself. Walking with a map and turning left and right, labels you as a tourist that can be taken advantage of. Avoid walking alone at night. Finally follow your instinct, if you feel that you shouldn’t be in a particular place then you probably shouldn’t be there. Safe travel is generally about common sense. So as a woman, don’t let your concerns and other’s discourage you from exploring the world alone at your liberty and your own pace.