“I HEARD ABOUT THIS GIRL THAT GOT … (insert horror story here) ”
Yes, unfortunately terrible things happen all around the world to innocent and undeserving people. Are we supposed to hide away at home in case we get hit by a car when we walk to work? No. So why should you let a few terrible incidents stop you from venturing to incredible and unfamiliar lands? There was a bad stigma around India but I had the best time ever during my 3 months there and it will remain one of my most recommended destinations for solo travellers.
So if you’re a strong independent female *you go girl* and you can relate to this post give it some love and let me know your thoughts.
“AREN’T YOU WORRIED ABOUT SHARING A ROOM WITH BOYS?”
Honestly? I prefer mixed dorms to the latter all-female option. It feels much more social and I actually sleep extremely well knowing there are a few bodyguards available at 3am. Cheers lads! The female dorms can sometimes feel quite ‘clicky‘ and it can be hard to slot yourself into a social circle if the girls have already formed a bond. Most hostels have a female dorm option if smelly men aren’t your jam.
“YOU WILL GET TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF”
Other backpackers actually caused the most issues for me during my solo travels across 25 countries. Many concerned friends at home assumed local men from other cultures could be quite forthcoming. Fortunately it’s something that doesn’t happen often. Read more on how to handle them here.
Three months in India and a year travelling across Asia built up a tough skin to guard me against harmless comments from locals. They may call you beautiful and occasionally make an inappropriate comment but take no notice, it’s always a compliment and they aren’t used to seeing girls dress as we do or act as freely as we can.
Many locals want you to spread the word about how amazing their country is and would hate to hear of any troubling experiences so make sure you talk to someone or move to a different accommodation if you don’t feel safe.
“MAKE SURE YOU COVER UP”
Out of respect and where needed you should cover your skin and respect the local culture, however nobody is asking you to wear a sweater on the beach and you can style up cooling maxi skirts and harem trousers as you wish! In temples around Asia I knew the general rule was to cover shoulders and knees, sometimes in India I also had to cover my hair but most temples have the available attire such as headscarfs and sarongs available if what you’ve got in isn’t suitable (you saucy thing) 😉
“AREN’T YOU SCARED?”
Simply reply, “No. Because I’m about to go on an incredible adventure that kicks your normal life in the butt.”
“PEOPLE WILL STARE AT YOU”
Why shouldn’t they, I’m beautiful 😉 Seriously, locals who stare are normally just curious and this is often misinterpreted as vicious or menacing by nervous tourists. It only takes a friendly smile from you until they wave hello and help you with directions or anything else you need. Blonde hair and pale skin can often attract attention in Eastern cultures, in their world it is a sign of wealth and beauty, so don’t be offended.
Your friends and family back home may not be familiar with the amazing ease of travel and how safe and accessible it has become now. Modern technology means we can update them (and social media) of our whereabouts ALL THE TIME.
Sometimes women are underestimated – and being rather petite myself this is a regular occurrence but if you have any concerns about upcoming trips talking to fellow women out in the world is the best way to overcome it.