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Travelling alone is liberating, and I learnt so much about myself and the world out there as a solo woman traveller, something I couldn’t have otherwise.
Last year during my backpacking trip to Europe an Australian fella with three daughters and a gracious wife were seated next to me in an overcrowded eatery. We got talking and unintentionally the Australian man asked me, “So why are you travelling alone? Why is your husband not accompanying you on this trip?”
Now I have heard this more often than I’d have liked, but it doesn’t take the acerbic sting away from the words each time I hear them again.
I fail to understand why men think women need a chaperone everywhere they go. If we can work in the kitchen, go out buy groceries, work in an office environment, surely we can backpack and travel alone.
I wanted to respond in so many words as so many responses were colliding against each other in my head but one of his teenage daughters was quick on her feet and responded for me, “Well because she is a grown woman and can make her own decisions dad!”
The man looked from his daughter to me and shamed at the perversion of his question, apologized profusely.
I let the incident go but I do remember wondering why I liked travelling alone or travelling at all.
I think travelling/travelling alone is liberating.
I love discovering new places, being close to nature and history both. There is a need in me to learn about new cultures, etc.
Travelling teaches one to be tolerant and accepting of various cultures, religions, races and traditions. I myself am Agnostic but I find religion intriguing. I may not always agree with others’ beliefs but I have learnt to accept their choices.
I have made several friends during my travels from various countries and in different age groups.
I met this set of Irishmen and women during my stay in Dublin years ago. They would all hang out in a nearby pub every night and soon we became friends. I discovered how Irish humor is by far the best kind there is. Or when a bunch of sorority girls from Canada let me accompany them on their bar crawl. Or when I met this wonderful Greek man who travels from one country to another to participate in World peace initiatives. Or the Australian woman who had recently lost her husband and was out finishing his bucket list for him. She would light a candle for him in every cathedral we visited as if to say he had been there. Or this Iraqi boy who helped me and many others in the hostel find a good and cost effective sim card for our stay in Europe. The list is endless.
Also how would you get to try Spaghetti cooked in Squid Ink or taste the most authentic Turkish delight or savor the taste of the best Gatte ki Sabzi there is in Rajasthan or figure out how unpalatable Haggis is if you didn’t go out and visit far off lands? Yes savouring different cuisines happens to be another lovely benefit of travelling.
It can open your eyes to how good the world is and how wonderful human beings are when they are not typecast or put into a religious or racial compartment.
In addition, being a solo woman traveller brings with it a sense of freedom and self-reliance. It gives you a sense of extreme independence.
Another thing being a solo woman traveller does is bring one closer to oneself. It is the best way to find yourself some alone time, something that is essential to growing as a person. I found my writing through my travels, which helped me publish my first collection of poems last year. It helped me revive my passion for photography. Just imagine sitting with your camera close to a dormant crater and watching the aurora dance on top of your head. Out in the wilderness all by yourself watching nature’s light show is such an exhilarating yet calming experience.
This is what travelling offers- complete oneness with self, sense of independence, tolerance and acceptance towards fellow human beings irrespective of their religion/nationality.
So I urge all fellow women to put aside a bit of cash and time to wander away somewhere all by themselves. You won’t regret it, I promise!
Published here earlier.
Image source: pixabay