Today I am speaking directly to all my female readers who have a crazy itch to explore this world, but don’t feel like it’s possible. This is a topic I am very passionate about, it’s something I think we all need to discuss and acknowledge. However, if you’re a curious dude who has wandered in, then welcome. I still think it’s important for you to read this, in hopes it’ll speak to you as well and/or fuel your desire to encourage your fellow lady friends to be independent bad asses.
Somewhere along the way, we ladies have decided that nobody is going to tell us what we should or shouldn’t/can or can’t do, and I think that is great. Yet there is still so much progress we women need to make and I’m not taking about in society, but in our own minds with the mental road blocks we so effortlessly build, stopping us from chasing our desires.
Why is it that women are made to feel unsafe or unequipped to travel solo?
I think there are several reasons as to why this is. For myself, this was a doubt that came very natural to me in the beginning. I was in a relationship with someone whom I would picture living this life with, but unfortunately they didn’t envision the same future (totally ok). But what wasn’t ok, was that he also wanted me to believe it wasn’t realistic, with a long list of excuses as to why I wouldn’t be able to do it. This didn’t just come from him, it came from several people in my life. So for a year or so I had actually believed it. “How could I just pack up and leave my life behind? I am in a relationship, I’ve never left home, I’ve never been on my own, I just recently gotten my drivers license, I’m clueless with vehicles and how they work and I’m a young 20 something year old who is just generally inexperienced at life“. I was stuck, being suppressed by own doubts and the doubts of those around me.
Let me just stop myself right there and be the voice I needed to hear at that time in my life, and possibly the one that you need right now (and please pardon my language).
- I don’t care if you’re in a relationship.. why the hell should that stop you from going after what you want in life? You’re young, go live your dreams. If it’s meant to work out with that person, it will. And if they aren’t supportive of you and your ambitions then you need to LET THAT NEGATIVE SHIT GO. You do not need a partner to live the life you want for yourself. Believe me when I say this, you CAN do it on your own. Most women I know can’t be alone, they don’t know how to. Which makes me feel sad because this is also something I struggled with in the beginning. I didn’t truly believe I could do it, until I was. If you’re like me, who was suffering from Small Town Syndrome ( eg. being settled in a shit relationship, stuck in a shit job, surrounded by a lot of shit people, living the same stale day/weekend over and over) then let that be all the reason to set yourself free. I was never going to go if I waited for someone to come with me and neither will you. You need to start believing in your abilities to live a happy adventurous life on your own.
- Before leaving, I had never left. I had never travelled or lived on my own. If that sounds familiar to you, and you have the desire to travel, then leave! It’s that simple, seriously! Quit your job, book that plane ticket, buy your dream van and hit the road, whatever it may be.. just please go do it. Yes, being on your own out in the world is a scary thought and at times a scary reality, but only because you are unaware of your capabilities. When travelling solo, you’re obligated to be totally responsible for yourself. So it’s inevitable that the more you experience, the more you will discover these capabilities, which then creates a self confidence you’ve never had. The growth and self improvement that this sources is fucking LIFE CHANGING. Not to mention the part of solo travel that forces you to be susceptible to human connection in a way like never before. I have met and fallen involve with beautiful people from all over the planet because this environment has encouraged me to put myself out there in a way I would have never done otherwise. I have opened up a part of my soul that I had no idea even existed a year ago. This also ties in to why I believe it is important to not get hung up on finding a partner to live out your crazy adventure with. Because I guarantee you’re going to find heeps of like minded, kind hearted, adventurous souls along the way, who you will connect with on a deep emotional level. Most platonic but some romantic. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you never leave, you’re never going to get the opportunity to find your Tribe or your true identity. And if you do leave, that you are never truly ‘alone’. Theres a whole planet full of humans to befriend, help you out, fall in love with or join in on your journey.
- Being inexperienced is probably the silliest excuse in my opinion. SO WHAT? That’s the whole purpose of a journey like this, is it not? You’re not supposed to have the answers to everything (or in my case, anything at all). I was flooded with questions that I frankly had zero answers to, apart from “I will figure it out”. This seemed to be a very unsettling response to most, in fact I believe it still is. And that’s ok. I’ve learned that you don’t need everyone or really anyone at all to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.
I may not be the best parallel parker, I could not explain to you how my engine works, I don’t have a clue how to fix things when they break down, and I still don’t know exactly what I’d do if I was ever in an unsafe situation.. but guess what? I’m still trucking’ along, I’m still living, I’m safe, and I continue to problem solve as those problems occur. SO, as long as you trust yourself and your journey, then you’re going to kill it at this life.
(Photos by Mackenzie Duncan: @themackenzielife)
Schooling and/or work is another common excuse I hear. Although I can’t speak from personal experience, I have witnessed friends suffer from this justification. My opinion however is this: Finish your schooling because I understand that shit is expensive (or don’t, because your gut will tell you what you need to do). Nonetheless, don’t let that stop you from making steps towards your goals and future plans for yourself. Maybe you start by taking your summers to go on small solo trips, or try finding a summer job in an unfamiliar town. Really anything to let yourself learn and grow on your own. Also, you don’t have to listen to all the people that try to tell you “you’re suppose to go find a job right after school”, if you don’t want to. I personally don’t tolerate this kind of pressure, because it’s just a job. I understand that some opportunities are rare, and landing a good job in your chosen career path can be hard to come by. However, I reckon your well being is far better off out in the world experiencing different things, foreign places, and new people. ESPECIALLY in your 20s. You have the rest of your life to figure out what carrier/job position/company fits you best. Not to mention, how on earth are you to know what you even want to do with the rest of your life, if you’ve never taken the time to truly get to know your inner being? Pardon me, but I think that’s a little silly.
Safety as a solo traveller is a whole other topic of discussion. I will happily elaborate on this in more depth in the near future, but for right now these are my thoughts. I understand that being out wandering in the world is intimidating. It makes you vulnerable which can be scary. And yes, there are horrible people that are capable of very bad things, but you’re going to get that doing anything/going anywhere in life (alone or not). So don’t let that fear stop you. Feeling as if it’s not safe, is a huge reason why women don’t travel on their own. However, this is just a worry that will 100% kill your dreams if you let it. As long as you’re smart, and listen to your intuition you’ll be just fine.
And for the love of god, don’t go watch the movie Hostel before leaving. Hostels are an epic way to meet incredible life long friends from all over the planet.
I have been travelling and living in my van solo for over 8 months now. Anytime I meet another single female on her own journey, I instantly have a girl crush and feel the need to pick her brain. I love seeing us brave, fearless ladies out here in the world, killing it, being so happy and open to life. Yet, I sit here feeling heavyhearted because there isn’t enough of us in this community of nomads. And it’s not because of the lack of epic women out here, but because of the large amount of aspiring travellers who are taught, told, or convinced they don’t have the power or potential to do it on their own.
Here’s what I have to say to those ladies: FUCK THAT. In my opinion, there are two reasons why others will put this kind of doubt into your mind;
- It’s not because they don’t believe in you, but because they don’t believe in themselves. They don’t understand how you could possibly do something so brave because they themselves may never be brave enough. When someone is doubting your journey just take that as reflection of them, and not yourself. Once again, LET THAT NEGATIVE SHIT GO.
- They’re probably a loved one that just cares very much about you and doesn’t want you to wander too far away from them. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t believe in you or support you (although it can come across that way), it’s just that they know they’ll worry about you when you’re gone. This comes from a semi-selfish place of love. In this particular case it can become frustrating. Just remember that you don’t need to have everything planned out perfectly or have all the answers. This will drive them crazy, and I want you to let it.
Don’t limit yourself. Don’t wait for a man, a friend, or the ‘perfect time’. Your time is now. Do it for yourself, by yourself. The better version of myself now, is shaking her head at the scared & doubtful me a few years ago. The girl that made up and listened to all the excuses for far too long. She is the reason I am sharing this with all of you. Once you realize that you’re in control of your own life, your own happiness and your own self worth you become unstoppable, this powerful bad ass who goes after what she wants with no hesitations. You recognize who you are, realizing that you’re capable of much more than you ever could have imagined.
(Photos from Jane Salee: @rockmeetssoil)
The world is yours, get out there and go live your best life.