Being a woman traveler = Adventure + Awareness

Is it cliche to say that I love travel?

Not that I love TO travel.  Not the verb that means to make a journey, or to wander off, or to dribble a basketball incorrectly.  I love travel, the entire encompassing experience.  I love travel means to me that I love the verb as well as the noun, the adjective, the consuming freedom and frustrations.

I’ve gotten lost.  I’ve fallen in mud pits and lost my shoes forever in rice paddies.  I’ve missed the last train at midnight and had to sleep at a McDonalds.  I’ve been robbed.  I’ve been shouted at.  I’ve gotten on the wrong bus because I couldn’t read the signs fast enough and ended up a in the wrong city.  I’ve been grabbed.  I’ve been scared.  I’ve been lonely.  I’ve looked up return flights home after a few days in a new country, but managed not to push submit.

I’ve watched the sun rise over Mt. Everest.  I’ve been taken to a local community’s “Fountain of Youth” and drank the water.  I’ve used the wrong noun in a new language that resulted in hilarious blunders.  I’ve belly-laughed.  I’ve learned to play a giant xylophone.  I’ve wandered.  I’ve swam in the Devil’s Pool.  I’ve been welcomed. I’ve hugged a tiger. I’ve been blessed with global friendships.

And while all travelers at some point have or will had these same experiences, it’s a unique perspective to experience them as a woman.

There are a lot of blogs about being a woman or female traveler.  A lot of them are really excellent: beautiful, visually engrossing, funny. And a lot of them talk about what it means to travel as a woman.  I would love to join their ranks.  But I want to distinguish myself, as well.  This blog will be real.  I won’t exaggerate and I won’t lie.  But I want to be honest.  Traveling as someone perceived as a woman, solo or otherwise, is not the same as not being a woman.

I hesitated for a long time to publish these thoughts because I NEVER, EVER want to deter women from traveling, and I NEVER, EVER want to paint an entire country or culture in a bad light.  That would be heartbreaking.  But I want people to be aware of what the world can be like.

As a woman, harassment is different.  As a woman, fear is different.  As a woman, loneliness is different.  Prepare yourself accordingly.

At the same time: as a woman, freedom is different.  As a woman, joy is different.  As a woman, preparation is different.  I’ll talk about those, as well, of course!

You can be an adventurer and stay aware at the same time!

This blog is not only for women: it’s for anyone who wants to know what it’s like to be a woman traveler.  And of course, this blog reflects my personal opinions and experiences.  You don’t have to agree!  But I would ask that you be open-minded and keep this a safe place.

TL;DR: Please travel.  But please be prepared.  Don’t be afraid — be aware. Go on adventures! Love exploring!  Be open to the singular experience of traveling as a woman; the world looks different to us.

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