Reflections on 2 happenings re: solo female travellers
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Feb 6, 2013 12:45 PM Last Post By: Hercules
Sep 10, 2012 1:43 AM
Reflections on 2 happenings re: solo female travellersIt's funny, I'm a sole female traveller and never thought of this since before starting to travel, but 2 things happened on the weekend which made me stop and think how we can stick out like a sore thumb to the rest of the general populace:
1. I was bushwalking/hiking/trekking and had finished at a campground where I saw one tent pitched. Inside that tent was a single female. She offered to give me a lift to the next carpark where my car was. I asked her if she was by herself (assuming she was going to say no, her partner was coming) and she said yes! I was taken aback, because though I've met others at hostels, this was the first time in the 14 months since I started, that I'd met another sole female traveller in that particular setting (i.e. bushwalking). Then I realised how odd I must look every time I go bushwalking, which is a lot of times (and especially so as I'm Asian).
2. After I retrieved my car and drove to the nearest town, I decided to take advantage of the lighting and temperature control at the local McDonald's to plan out the next day (as well as eat). A couple came in. Stereotypical bogans (of the rural sort) if any of you are Aussie (translation: rough people with little class that are very loud and drive loud cars too and think they're the shit). There were chairs facing the counter where people could wait (obviously serving times must've been an issue there, but that's a whole other story). The couple sat down, but faced me instead. The girl started talking really loudly, and the more I ignored her (as indicated by the number of brochures I was getting through), the louder she got. I can't even remember what they said (I don't think it was anything racist or anything about how funny sole female travellers were) but just the whole affair was just eyeball rolling. Then I realised again how odd I must look, a single Asian female in a town literally in the middle of nowhere, reading up on what they must perceive to be a group or single male activity (bushwalking through the same park--I hadn't finished that day and was planning how to do the rest of the walks).
So there you go. What other reactions/incidents have other sole female travellers encountered where you've stuck out like a sore thumb? Especially in countries where you didn't think this would be an issue?
Sep 13, 2012 3:12 PM
Sep 25, 2012 6:22 AM
Sep 25, 2012 5:32 PM
3Not so much of an issue for me; I am female, also travel solo, and stuck out like a beacon on a year-long solo RTW. As I do almost every time I go away.
I've not had many bad encounters and find, when in any of the South Pacific countries, that people become overly protective because they can't wrap their heads around the fact that a woman can travel alone, without a safety net. That can sometimes lead to small problems if another person of your ethnicity does something the locals dislike as they then tend to think all of you are related and therefore you should do something about a stranger's bad behaviour. I got caught up in that situation once, but leaned on the person who caused the problem until he payed the money he owed to a village headman.
I did run into some bogans (thanks for that expression) in Bali, and although it wasn't directed at me it made me very uncomfortable for being the same 'colour' as them, as did a super rude couple from (insert name of European country here) in a bank in Nairobi. I fairly curled up in embarrasment at their behaviour because I was of the same ethnicity as them.
I'm currently in Japan and am sticking out like a beacon on fire because the area I'm staying does not see foreigners. Not really the type of thing you are asking about, but as a solo female traveller I always stick out, as I suspect all of us do at one time or another.
Nov 14, 2012 10:43 PM
4I am not female so I can't comment but I've seen many solo women travelling. it's all about the attitude - if you look and feel awkward etc then you will come across that way. If you don't care, then it looks like you don't care.
As for Mcdonals, they make rubbish food but I always find myself eating them while on holiday, you know what (rubbish) you are getting, they have air con inside, and free wifi. And you never know your chances of meeting a hot single female!
(Well I'm married now but am thinking of my past).
Nov 21, 2012 10:43 PM
5I just started travelling solo last year but just domestic trips. The idea of solo female traveller here is soo taboo that I usually got a weird look from the hotels I was staying, from the taxi drivers and from people I met in the road. Anyway despite their initial reaction, these people that I have encountered have been really really nice. Some of the taxi drivers that Ive met even wished for my good safety always. Like the way my father does. Some of the jeepney and tricycle drivers I have bumped into even went out of their route just to drop me where I was going so I didnt need to wait in these remote areas for another public vehicle and without an extra charge. Some of the hotels offered me discount (without me asking) and allowed me to check out late without extra charge. And a couple of times, I found myself waiting for a bus/ jeepney in a remote place late at night with few people who offered to stay with me so I had a company. So it might be a taboo and not acceptable for some but I wouldnt be able to appreciate life much better if not for this lifestyle :)
Nov 23, 2012 8:39 PM
6I just finished a solo road trip across the US and back. I visited a ton of friends so I didn't really feel like I was spending that much time alone. Other people seemed to feel differently though! Every time I shared what I was doing with anyone, their response was an incredulous "...BY YOURSELF??", usually followed by unsolicited safety advice. Must have gotten that reaction at least 50 times, it drove me crazy! Though I'm sure being a woman was a factor, I think most people were just surprised that anyone would purposely spend so much time independently. For reasons I'll never understand, most people don't seem to enjoy their own company.
Dec 1, 2012 9:47 PM
7This was a good thread for me to read because I am just starting to plan my first international solo trip. I am a little nervous because I don't know any other languages, and have not travelled out of the US much. It's nice to hear positive experiences from other female solo travellers!
I am also asian, early 30s, and although I don't plan on bushwalking or camping, I would like to stay out of the more tourist-y areas. My plan is to travel around May, and am considering Spain, France, or somewhere in the Mediterranean. Does anyone have suggestions for a new solo traveller, or can suggest a place considered "more safe" for soloists?
Dec 2, 2012 7:02 AM
8Being solo will not prevent you traveling solo in Spain, France, or somewhere like Italy. Countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal, and parts of Italy, are perhaps a little notorious for their petty crime, so watch for pick pockets and petty theft at train stations and busy areas, plus les Rambles in barcelona. Being Asian is of no consequence to anyone else, so no issue there. Be careful, as you would be somewhere like east Brooklyn, but really, europe is pretty soft-core as far as solo travelling goes. You'll see plenty of solo earrly twenties men and women enjoying themselves!
Dec 4, 2012 5:19 AM
9Great! Thanks for the tips, Johannnn! Also, you just put Portugal on my radar ;) another great possibility!
Dec 5, 2012 1:36 AM
10I've travelled about everyway but pack mule or trekking.
Even cruises, which I hated. (on Mom's dime. Am I gonna say no?) The most interesting people aboard were in our AA meetings. I was so bored, I wanted to check out at sporting goods, a chipping hammer and paint brush.
Cruises are for the cruise, not for learning anything, in situ.
Back to the point;
I'll only travel solo any more. Locals are nice and don't wanna interrupt travel cluster's same old stories.
Dec 5, 2012 9:18 AM
11LOL Gawk, my sentiments as well, never taken a cruise and doubt I ever will, but I do have a fantastic some-times travel buddy I met 1,000 years ago in Tunisia. We've travelled together twice now and both times had an absolute blast. Granted, it's much harder to meet locals when you're not solo, but we didn't have trouble with that either.
Jan 28, 2013 1:12 PM
12Hey, it's good to read this thread. I'm a 32 year old female and I am planning my first solo trip proper abroad which includes the Balkans, the Trans-Mongolian railway and SE Asia. I'm heard quite a few horror stories about women being sexually harrassed... sometimes because certain cultures think Western women are easy. Anyone encountered this? I've been totally put off going to places like India alone.
Feb 1, 2013 10:17 AM
13I have, but only to a minor degree. It is true that some think Western woman are easy, so the come-ons can bit a nuisance, but I've never had a problem with anyone after turning them down. Maybe that's due to the fact I am most often somewhere in the South Pacific, where a simple "no" is usually respected, for the most part. They might try again later, but never seem to take offense. However, in some males do take offense when you turn them down, so maybe I'm just lucky to never have run into anything alarming or overly aggressive.
Feb 6, 2013 12:45 PM
Kochi (Cochin)Book now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$4.89 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$44.48 per night
Mumbai (Bombay)Book now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$74.16 per night