I am a woman – who says I shouldn’t travel alone? Since when did gender become an issue in travel? And why do some people think its foolishness when a woman goes on a solo journey to a different country?
On NBC I watched news about Sarai Sierra’s death in Istanbul. Sarai was an amateur photographer who went off-board to a solo travel to Turkey – her first trip abroad. This 33-year-old mom of two from New York City was found murdered after being reported missing for 2 weeks. This news from NBC prompted comments, of some infuriates me. I respect the freedom of speech and so I’m giving my take.
“A single woman traveling alone is risky. In a foreign country, it is downright foolish.”
“A woman has no business traveling alone.”
“No way I would even let my beautiful wife out the door to travel to any country alone.”
These are just some of the provocative comments on NBC’s article. I don’t have any plans of being a feminist but these comments show that still, gender discrimination exists in solo travel, and I don’t think it should be that way. It is considered against the norms, yes, especially for a Filipina like me, but that doesn’t mean a huge difference on how a man or a woman would handle decisions and circumstances while on a trip. When you dishearten and discourage a woman to travel alone, you’re also unselfishly taking her freedom to:
- Engage to different cultures – such a very exciting experience as you immerse yourself into cultures you didn’t even know exists
- Become a hero on her own story – by taking rational risk and going out of her comfort zone
- Be responsible – as there’s no one but herself, no one to please with her decisions or blame for outcomes.
- Learn self- acceptance – as solo travelers come to terms with their totality
- Love herself – the more she come along the journey alone, the more she discovers her relationship with herself
- Discover her own mind – and how she perceive things, what her principles are
- Overcome low self – esteem –solo travel which expands self – perception will help in overcoming low self – esteem and will continue to enrich life with recognition of greatness in others
Sarai’s death is still being investigated and we wouldn’t know what really happened to her but let this be not a discouragement to fellow female travelers but rather a lesson to learn strategies on how to stay safe, stay cautious and be aware of our surroundings while on a solo trip (which I’m planning to draft just right after I post this article). May Sarai’s soul be at peace with our Creator.
For now I leave you with a quote from Robert Heinlein:
“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”