Being a female solo traveler I get a lot of questions about my fears. “Aren’t you scared to go alone? What if something were to happen? You’ll be an easy target. You’ll get robbed for sure.” Or, the real dramatic one; “You’re going to get yourself killed.” When it comes to solo travelling, this is by far the most common fear for most people. And I can see why. I have had that fear myself at some point. Sometimes I still do. Okay, maybe not the murdery – one but the fear of falling victim to some really horrendous scenario still crosses my mind every now and then. We have all read the stories; solo traveler kidnapped, solo traveler missing, solo traveler found in the mountains after 3 weeks. I have experienced that concern myself and talked to many travelers down the road who turned out to have them too. So believe me when I say it’s not just you. Even the most hardcore solo travelers had doubts and fears at some point.
It’s important to keep in mind that those are the exceptions you read about. The same kind of exceptions when you read about a shooting that took place two blocks away. The numbers show that getting attacked abroad is in fact quite rare. The number one crime solo – travelers fall victim to is robbery. But this is the case for all travelers, not just us soloers. So it’s important to remember that, by traveling alone, we are not putting ourselves in any more threatening situations than if we were to stay at home. So why is it that we are so afraid for our safety, even when the data don’t support this?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to tell you that fear is completely wrong and unfounded. You probably wouldn’t believe me anyway. In fact, I think it’s perfectly normal to be concerned about certain situations that you might encounter when travelling alone and that concern for your safety is generally a good thing. That same caution will probably keep you from making bad choices and reduce the chance of those fearful scenarios coming true. However, I do feel that we need to stop instilling fear and distrust in women because if we don’t, we are raising a generation of women that is afraid to grow and flourish independently. We need to recognize the fact that by holding people back, not just women, we are killing their confidence in themselves and the world.
Let the fear fuel you!
You probably have a mental image of what a solo traveler looks like. You see a man strolling through the streets of Bangkok, charming his way through town. You see a woman climbing mountains with nothing but a duffel bag and a staggering self – belief. They both are confident, social and never act lost or scared. They’re never paralyzed by overwhelming fears about not making friends or what the hell they are even doing with their lives.
Sure, for some people confidence comes naturally and they move through life self – assured. For the majority of us mortals, self – confidence is a skill that takes practice. For me that definitely was the case; it was my lack of confidence and the fear of being alone that made me question my safety in the first place. Theodore Roosevelt said “Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.” It’s a fact universally acknowledged that your fear will never go away until you do whatever it is you’re afraid of. So every time you successfully handle a situation that scares you, your self – esteem is being raised. You learn to trust that you will survive and that, whatever life throws at you, you’ll be okay. Solo travel has given me confidence I never thought possible; an overwhelming feeling of resilience and undeniable capability. So don’t wait around for the confidence to pursue your dreams. Force yourself into the situation, embrace the fear and I promise you; you’ll find confidence and resilience in the process.
And remember. Whatever happens, you’ll be okay.