Opinion: More women should consider traveling alone

Women may feel that traveling alone is too dangerous. However, the experience can foster strong personal growth.

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Opinion: More women should consider traveling alone

The city of Prague, Czechia, as seen on June 18.

The city of Prague, Czechia, as seen on June 18.

Sarah Stortz

The city of Prague, Czechia, as seen on June 18.

Sarah Stortz

Sarah Stortz

The city of Prague, Czechia, as seen on June 18.

Sarah Stortz, Arts Editor

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If you asked me if I could go on a plane by myself a year ago, I would’ve laughed.

It was a decade since I last traveled through air, and I couldn’t even drive to another state without having someone else by my side. As uncomfortable as I felt, it was an idea I needed to challenge after I decided to study abroad in Prague last summer.

While I had wanted to travel to another country for years, I still wasn’t keen on the idea of traveling alone. After all, I’m a young, frail girl who would dash through international airports wearing a terrified expression on my face. I felt like the perfect target for misfortune.

After studying abroad, however, my mind is constantly abuzz pondering my next destination — but I don’t plan to bring anyone with me on my next trip.

Doing any kind of activity alone is often stigmatized, whether it’s eating at a restaurant, going to the movies, or attending a concert. However, I wanted to address women specifically because I feel they’re the most vulnerable to this type of judgment. Whenever a woman ventures somewhere, people feel the need to emphasize how she should not be left unaccompanied. It’s such a problem that people joke about women being unable to go to the bathroom without a friend tagging along.

While I traveled before, I loved spending time with my roommates and experiencing all different cultures with them, but I felt an unexplainable magic whenever I wandered alone. The morning before classes, I would explore the shops near my flat and stumble inside cafés, allowing me to stay as long as I wanted to get work done. I would stroll through the park and climb the rocky staircases, viewing the gorgeous cityscape of Prague.

These were moments all for my own benefit. These experiences allowed me to get in touch with my thoughts and soak in the atmosphere without distractions.

Speaking about my own experience and observations, people think that when a woman plans a solo trip, she must live a sad, lonely life. She must not have much regard for her safety, they say. They laugh the same way I would have laughed.

But spending a large amount of time alone in a foreign location can allow for vast amounts of soul-searching and self-reflection, which I think we often take for granted.

Additionally, a 2018 study from the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime, titled Global Study on Homicide, has shown how women are more likely to be killed in their home than anywhere else. With any location, a traveler’s well-being will come down to preplanning and common sense.

I want other women —  no matter their age, relationship status, or travel experience — to know they shouldn’t wait on anyone to take a trip. Our planet is too beautiful to not soak in every experience we can. Not having a travel partner shouldn’t hold you back. Although intimidating, the trip will be a rewarding test to your independence and will-power.

Besides, traveling alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. One of the most exciting parts about venturing to a new location is meeting the people. There are also several groups devoted to female solo travelers, allowing women to share their stories together and meet other globetrotters.

So, go ahead — book that plane ticket for one.

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