Traveling Alone as a Woman

January 9th, 2015

This record breaking expedition has been broken by several men, yet if it indeed has been attempted by a woman, we’ve surely never heard of it. Maybe it’s because they didn’t finish, maybe it’s because they were abducted, maybe it’s because a female has never even attempted the feat to begin with. Regardless, in this day and age you’d think we would’ve heard about it if a woman did make an attempt at traveling to every country on earth. The thought of this makes me both excited and uneasy. If I am the first woman to attempt to travel to every country, and if I succeed, I’ll be on a euphoric high for the rest of my life. However, knowing that no woman has attempted at, or completed this expedition also makes me wonder why. Am I completely oblivious to the fact that maybe women shouldn’t even attempt to do this at all? 

There’s an old saying, “women shouldn’t travel alone”. I get this question a lot so ladies if you’re interested, listen up. I’ve been pushed down flights of stairs while working for my employer in Italy (for not giving into his sexual desires), thrown to the streets by my employer in Turkey (for not giving into his sexual desires), have been hissed, cat called, ‘licked at’ from a distance, drooled at, strange men have touched their genitals in front of me in public while licking their lips, and men have thrown chairs at me at the border of Syria. Can you see why I choose to be single? :). But what puts all of this into perspective for me is that I’ve even been harassed by my male employers in the United States, cat called, licked at from a distance, chirped at and harassed by men in my own country… in the United States of America. They are everywhere. I’m not saying that I’m an extreme feminist, but when a woman experiences enough of this, she starts to see men more as four legged- animals than as two-legged humans. And while traveling, this is exactly how you have to see them. You have to feel the hatred towards them as if they’ve already harmed you… always be one step ahead of the game. Let me give you a few tips that have worked in my favor when traveling alone:

1) Don’t look at men. However, if you must, shape your face into something mean, angry and ugly and keep it that way as you keep walking. I’ve done this tons of times, and the men just get turned off. You’re alone anyways, not like you have friends around you to laugh at the face your making, so be serious about it.

2) Carry Mace on you at all times 

3) Never look lost (A.K.A. Never look at a map in public… especially in rural, third world countries or even in big cities).

4) Never be sweet to men. Be short or act angry as though you are brushing them off, they’ll back off, you’re too hard of a catch for them to want to even give a shot and who the hell wants to be around an angry woman anyways?

5) Never flip them off – This only makes them want you more.

6) Never trust them for help, directions, aid, anything. They’ll try to take advantage in any way if you do this (money, sex, etc.).

7) Know self-defense

8) Know the basics of their language (no/yes/stop, etc.)

9) Never walk alone in isolated areas. If you must, ALWAYS carry a knife and mace in your pocket for easy access. Though I have done this many times, I always look back and say to myself “what a bad idea”.

10) BE CONFIDENT and COURAGEOUS 

With all this said, #10 is by far the most important. I don’t care if you have blonde hair/blue eyes, dress in white shorts and a tank top in the streets of Cairo (done), or look like a supermodel; as long as you follow these 10 rules I’ve found to be extremely effective you will survive. Traveling alone as a woman is totally safe. You just need to have confidence. The women these men around the world want are of the weak and fable, lost and scared, pleasant to look at and kind to talk to, engaging and trusting. Be none of these. In other words if you find yourself in a potentially bad situation or you find yourself having to walk down dark roads at night, do not be yourself, unleash your inner ugly and let that shine. When you travel alone as a woman you have to learn to accept how to give up parts of who you are even if just for the moment. 

Make friends, laugh and be happy… but know how to hold your own.

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