World

Nah-ah, we ladies DO NOT travel solo to get laid!

My first solo trip, staring at the Esplanade building, Singapore

There’s always that moment in the life of a solo female traveler, on her adventurous gambols across continents, bypassing different cultures and creeds, that she encounters creeps who feel she must be out there, all alone, for the sole purpose of getting down and dirty.

That moment may come up at the pre-travel stage, whilst researching for places to stay and initiating communication with potential hosts on sites such as coach-surfing, Airbnb, Night-swapping and so forth.  That moment may arise when the journey is in full-swing and the solo female finds herself in shared or common transportation. That moment may even start when wrapping up the journey, when there are a few hours to spare before catching the bus, train, ship or flight home.

These times arise no matter that she has saved up for months or even years just to escape from familiarity, so as to embrace a whole new world out there; to learn, relax, explore, seek and find. No matter that her point of departure had plenty of men as a good part of the populace, and she isn’t on some sort of jail-break from a ‘female-only’ island. No matter that it is 2015, and women are self-aware now more than ever; communication and technology are at a zenith, there’s more money in their pockets, some time on their hands, a variety of choices plus a craving to see the world, and simply because..they can.

Solo female traveller at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Solo female traveller at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Woman traveler at a Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Woman traveler at a Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

The stark assumption by male folk out there in the destination country whichever corner of the globe that may be, is that she’s out there for a kinky-kind of adventure. She’s foreign after all, and all sorts of strange stereotypes, myths and tales woven about ‘foreign women’ abound, more so when they are sojourning solo, in the absence of male guardianship or community, as would be expected in this new land. Perhaps her dress is different, skimpier than that of the local women, perhaps her behavior is a little more direct and not discreet, confusing to locals who have probably been raised alongside cowering and submissive women. Perhaps her sheen, complexion and shade is exotic; lighter or darker, she is viewed in their eyes as a strange being that ‘should’ be sampled. As a result there will be plenty of suggestive leering, some groping and touching, stalking and winking, and exhibiting other inappropriate actions unhinged by customs or culture.

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For women traveling solo, warding off unwarranted attention is somewhat a prerequisite to your journey. It’s bound to happen in some form or shape, and it is scary. So best be prepared.

And women across the demographic are preparing; whether youthful, elderly, asian, black or caucasian, they are coming up with preventive solutions, that range from correct cross-cultural communication so that no wrong signals are transmitted, to even wearing a fake wedding ring to ward off suitors, adorning the full-body burqa even in the absence of belief. Women are arming themselves with whistles, penknives, pepper spray and self-defense lessons. They are going so far as forming coach-surfing groups tailored to women alone.

Wearing the hijab in Malaysia, a predominantly muslim country helped me gain some respect

Wearing the hijab in Malaysia, a predominantly muslim country gained me some respect

But yet, there’s the other end of the spectrum. Women who welcome advances and are giving chance to fleeting liaisons while on the road, being on the look out for what some have described as, “Sex. Crazy sex. And lots of it…”

Yikes! Eek..and eeeuuw in quick succession. Cringe mode to the max.

Who hops into the sack with strangers having no hope of communicating ever again with them or entering into a lifelong committed relationship down the road? You’d be surprised that many do, if browsing travel forums and blogs is anything to go by. So perturbed was one guy that he asked in what I imagined to be a small voice, “Do women travel solo to get laid?”

My answer would be; “Nah-ah, women Do Not travel solo to get laid.”

It’s too dangerous and disgusting.  Respect for women generally around the world is waning. Even in the most developed of countries, a woman walking down a street is a magnet for catcalls, wolf-whistles, sexually-explicit comments and harassment. In the developing world, it’s a whole new game. Regardless of the fact that countries are active in ratifying and applying their signatures to women rights treaties, oft times this is not translated to the citizens and means nada to them. There can be the risk of being kidnapped and used as a sex slave, or worse still, being murdered afterwards to cover tracks. You would not catch me dead lurking around bars or going home in the wee hours of the morning, post-party and alone; not in a foreign land, not in my trusty tiny village town. Better to be paranoid than raped or dead.

Sex is sacred  The spiritual side to sex is far greater than the physical, it’s not only the melding of two souls in what is an intimate act, it is also oneness in spirit. Hopping from one person to another, in a five-minute primal exercise by the consolation that it is ‘natural’ simply means that you are giving away a piece of your soul to strangers, not only is there the risk of developing negative soul ties but as well the transference of myriads of spirits and problems. You end up going for therapy when in essence what you need is an exorcism. No can do.

We travel solo to see the world on our own terms and time. We don’t want to be held back by friends constantly being unavailable for us. Sometimes it’s the money and the lack of it thereof, sometimes it’s agendas never quite coming together to make space for travel, sometimes it’s a rabid fear of the unknown. We want to go at our own speed, we want to take Mark Twain’s advise and, “Throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in the sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Because we are a little crazy, and harbor secret thoughts of going around the world some day. Not everyone harbors the same dreams as we do. We want to be travelers while they are trapped by the comfort of being tourists. We want to traverse the globe while they are content with sight-seeing the city. Our little space is too small, too confining; we want to breathe free, take territories in our hearts, and see all that our world has got to offer.

Exhausted and waiting for the bus in Paris.

Exhausted and waiting for the bus in Paris.

Why do you think women travel solo?

13 replies »

  1. Travel as a guy is a bit different I guess. I do wonder about the ladies though as when I travel with my female colleagues, I’m their “protector.” Some cultures are very bad and I see it at times. The guys cat calling and having rhat longing look in their eyes and just being downright rude.

    Maybe they’ve slept with previous travelers and now stupidly think that every solo female traveler is looking for a hookup, sigh…

    To answer your question: I assume the same reason why guys travel; to see the world…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I believe so too..it’s really different for the sexes in the general responses they get. In Malaysia, I learnt that I was respected when I wore the hijab though I’m not a Muslim..so I know that if I get to predominantly Muslim countries it would be wise to cover up. A friend in Penang was stalked by a guy on his motorbike who kept asking “How much?” He was assuming she was there as a prostitute, which totally freaked her out! In Pula, Croatia there was a flirty waiter who really wanted to know where I was staying and kept on winking like I was part of his game.
      Yeah, we all travel to see the world but as women we just have to take greater care..sadly.

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  2. I once lived in a back packers in Plymouth, UK. And what went on there was like a house of orgies, guy would meet at the dinning room and after a few beers and changing of stories guys would end up sleeping together and in the morning they all went their way. It was I have to say, a traumatic experience.

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    • Oh my! Incomprehensible to say the least.! Sometimes, travelers trivialize sex so much that they forget themselves, how they would ordinarily behave at their homes and it’s sad.

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  3. I’m happy to read that finally someone has a different perspective on this topic. It’s rare to read that not every chick out there thinks it’s cool to sleep with a bunch of guys while travelling. I personally think it could be too risky and it’s not even worth it. As a women and future world traveler, I want to make sure that I maintain my well-being and health. So sleeping with guys around the world is out of the question for me.

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    • Yes, I totally agree..travel in itself is already stressful, sleeping with people while on the road is always fraught with issues of its own, an additional stress factor, not to mention the risks of STD’s!

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  4. My friends think am crazy for taking solo trip’s .I gave up on trips with friends because getting time and money at the same time was a challenge. I was asked “how much” in Dubai and Thailand severally .i guess it’s a problem solo female travellers face all these time .one more measure I take is I never let the taxi drivers or hotel staff know I am in town alone. I always pretend I am in town with friends but the are staying in a different hotel . lastly I am glad to know am not crazy for choosing to travel alone.

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    • You are definitely not alone Anne, quite a number of women are setting off solo. It’s great you are cautious in your approach, and never letting the taxi drivers or hotels know too much.

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  5. What a great article! The best I have read on a long time. I have had a lot of problems with this as well while travelling alone! And yes this is right on point, and I am very happy to wrote this and that someone finally took this up! Because we do not travel to get laid, so please guys around the world, stop harresing us sexually! Seriously!

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  6. Women travel solo around the world because we want to achieve personal growth and independence. And because we can.

    Sadly, not everyone is congratulating this fact and until that takes place, we shouldn’t stop travelling but be cautious of our surroundings, be aware of the local culture, and not do anything that we wouldn’t normally do in our own countries.

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