Advice for a single female traveller from other single females?
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Feb 11, 2013 1:38 PM Last Post By: hermosajoe
Feb 8, 2013 2:16 PM
Advice for a single female traveller from other single females?I'm not even sure why I'm posting this but wondered if I'll hear from females who have had similar experinces and may have some strategies for me. I am an experinced traveller who has been backpacking for over 8 years, 90% + of this time on my own and I've been to and lived in some pretty remote and/or challenging places to be a women; Soutern and Eastern Africa, Morroco, Indonesia etc however I've been having a hell of a time travelling alone on this trip.
I was sexually assulted in El Salvador on Christmas Day, then less than 3 weeks later in a matter of days was mugged with a machete to my throat and was in an armed boat hold up and had all my money taken from me in Guatemala. I am now feeling so weary out on the streets with all the men hissing at me and calling out to me in Mexico. Obviously I try to not draw attention to myself with revealing clothing etc but its hard when you are blonde blue eyed, not to mension that its stinking hot!! Today after hvaing a near panic attack on the street just having to pass by a group of cat calling young boys I was thinking of throwing the rest of my trip away (had planned to be here in Mexico for 6 months as this has always been my travel mecca) and heading home. I really don't want to feel like I'm going home with my tail between my legs either though. Am sure probably noone can help me get over myself but me but wondered if any girls out there had any advice for me?
Feb 8, 2013 6:44 PM
1I'm so sorry to hear of your horrific ordeals. As a woman who travels alone and in company, it pains me that these actions seem to be commonplace and "OK" in certain areas of the world. Women should be able to travel freely in their own country and across the world. That being said, maybe it would make you feel more comfortable to join up with some fellow travelers for a bit. Perhaps finding a traveler hostel in a low-key area would allow you to relax and meet some new people who might join you for a while so you can feel at ease again. Do not let what happened to you ruin your trip. I have never been to Mexico but I was robbed at machete point in Nicaragua and I realize it's a jarring experience. I cannot speak to how violated I'm sure you feel but I do feel that you will be able to find solace somewhere that will allow you to enjoy the rest of your trip. Best of luck to you, sister.
Feb 8, 2013 7:19 PM
2Lots of blonde, blue-eyed women travel alone in Mexico and Latin America, myself one of them in my younger days.....never had any problems in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and especially Mexico. Mexico is a safe country, yes, there will always be hissing for a beautiful young woman, but ignore it, and walk proud. Do not give up your travel, although you have had bad experiences, You are in San Cristobal now, a great place, and if you go to Yucatan, you will feel very safe.
Feb 8, 2013 8:07 PM
3Yea, I'am not sure why you are posing this thread either, on your 1:42 PM thread you want to make your hair blonder...
on your 1:50 PM thread you mention "we" going here,"we" driving there...
on your 2:16 thread,this one you say your traveling alone, your blond hair is making you stand out...
what do you want?
Feb 8, 2013 8:25 PM
4I'm sorry to hear that you've been through such a rough time... I am a solo female traveller currently based in Guadalajara but hoping to travel down through central america from march. Your stories scare me a bit, but I have to say I feel very safe and happy here in Guadalajara. I get whistles and comments of course, but It's harmless and generally a safe place to be alone, day and night (being sensible of course). I would recommend the city.
A couple of weekends ago I went down to puerta vallarta, which felt very touristy but fun. If you're feeling anxious I would recommend staying in more touristy places like that perhaps because you'll meet more americans, brits and generally like-minded travellers.
Feb 9, 2013 7:26 AM
5Obviously I try to not draw attention to myself with revealing clothing etc but its hard when...its stinking hot!!
That's no excuse. If you're at a beach resort, revealing clothes are culturally acceptable, but not so much elsewhere in Mexico. I've been to Morocco (and Mexico of course) and know how foreigners who wear inappropriate clothing are treated, you seem to be aware of this too, so why not dress more modestly and conservatively.
Today after hvaing a near panic attack on the street just having to pass by a group of cat calling young boys....
I have also been the subject of rude comments by adolescents, in both Morocco and Mexico, they are the worst offenders. It's best to ignore them.
+ (I) was mugged with a machete to my throat...+
I was threatened with a pair of garden shears on my latest trip to Mexico, I went to the police who threatened to imprison the offender, received an apology, and then went on with my holiday.
Caveat: I am a single man.
Feb 9, 2013 7:54 AM
6I know you asked for females to respond, but I suggest you go to a place, Oaxaca would be a very good one, then go to a language school where you will quickly meet people you can go out and about with, likewise you will have local teachers there that can tell you about the area. Not only will a couple of hours a day of Spanish enrich your trip but it will give you a social group, people to be with, and a place to get knowledge of the area. I have talked to lots of females from a round the world including my blonde haired blue eyed daughter who have gone solo to Oaxaca and done this and no trouble and lots of fun. Be safe...
Feb 9, 2013 10:50 AM
7Something is fishy with this poster, troll perhaps. Baja has it correct. In barely 1/2 hour she has 3 post's, 1st wanting a blonde dye job, 2nd wanting a nice town between Tuxtla G and Tlacotalpan and now having a near panic attack. Quite the mood swing all in a very short period, that's all I'm saying.
Feb 9, 2013 11:47 AM
8I tend to agree with bajadude and hermosajoe, there is something not kosher about this poster and is a possible troll.
As an aside, what may not be provocative is not explained. It could be the poster is covered from head to toe in tattoos, wears all black clothing with chains hanging off everywhere, army boots etc, I think you get the idea. That may or could certainly attract unwanted attention.
Also in one posting says "I am a single female" then in a second posting says " We are traveling".
Which is it?????
Feb 9, 2013 5:54 PM
9Just because the poster wants to get her hair done, and happens to be currently traveling with someone doesn't make her a liar. I'm not female, but I would echo mexico's advise above and find a group of people to pal around with. That will cut down significantly on the unwanted attention. Some Mexican guys feel sort of duty-bound to demonstrate their heterosexuality at any opportunity. It's a just game, they don't mean any harm. I remember my first trip to Mexico seeing a 10-yr-old boy making a big show of propositioning a 25-yr-old woman as she walked down the street. That was pretty funny.
Feb 9, 2013 8:05 PM
10I find this post odd, because I have found the men in Mexico to be very polite and respectful. I am older now, but it was the same when I was in my 20s. Since travelling with my teen daughter in the past few years, we have found them to also be very respectful of her. Of course I catch them eyeballing her, but no problems at all.
Unlike the creepy men all over Europe, who follow you around, come up and whisper in your ear and even jump on you and kiss you....ugg. All of which happened to me.
Feb 10, 2013 7:36 AM
11Women today never call themselves a girl. Cover your hair and then wear loose cotten clothing when it gets hot. I have been traveling in Latin America by myself and with others since 1990 and dragging expensive camera equipment also.. Skip watches, earrings and expensive sun glasses wear cheap dollar ones and never carry a purse.. Use a camera and then put it away. . Dont make eye contact with men at all. Walk like you know where you are going. Take your money for the day in a shirt pocket under a crumpled tissue. Leave the rest of your cash locked up in your room. Wear a skirt - not short or tight. A loose light weight one. When you get the feeling something isnt right leave quickly. . Be always aware of your surroundings. Dont wander alone after dark. Have travel insurance and be careful not to put yourself in harms way.
Feb 10, 2013 1:24 PM
12Wow. Some of these other comments here are very disturbing. Doubting what this woman says happened to her? Why? She says she was a victim of sexual assault and a machete attack and feeling uncomfortable traveling alone now. These are all highly plausible experiences while traveling in this part of the world. Not common perhaps, but definitely not unheard of. She's reaching out in desperation and all some of you have to say is that the men in Europe are worse and that she ought to cover up more. Real nice, people.
Feb 10, 2013 9:06 PM
13When I was in Oaxaca a few weeks ago, I heard (second-hand) about an American college student who had (very recently) been at a bar, met some Mexican men, been drugged, taken some place, and then raped. Of course the same thing can happen in any American city.
Taking what this poster says at face value, sometimes bad things happen in clusters - that's how statistics work.
You (original poster) don't have to feel bad about whatever choice you make - to keep traveling or to go home. But if you want to keep traveling, consider settling down in a city (say Guanajuato) and getting into an environment that feels safe to you. You don't have to prove anything about your bravery.
Anyway, you aren't the problem here - what was done to you is the problem.
Feb 10, 2013 9:42 PM
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