Traveling Solo

I’ve always been scared to travel alone. For one thing, I forget absolutely everything and I hate the more detail-oriented tedium of getting from Point A to Point B; for another, I’m simply frightened of the unknown.

And yet, like so many others, the idea of traveling alone seems like the ultimate transformational journey. Maybe I’m romantic, but I see solo traveling as a way to meet yourself, become strong and wise, and to know the truth of what matters in the world. I don’t want to miss out on that just because I’m scared. I’m even a little proud that I’m scared because it shows I know how much is at stake.

I’ve met some women who have traveled alone, and I admire them. The ones I’ve met seem not to think it’s any big deal at all (or maybe I just haven’t pinned them into the right conversation). They say they never felt unsafe. They say it wasn’t hard. I’m fascinated by this, but I can’t help but feel that it would be different for me. They exude confidence and strength. You can’t help but want to listen to them and know them. Vagabonds would invite them to share their spoils, not take spoils from them. I’m not sure I share this aura.

Anyway, because I’m scared, I have come up with many reasons to be scared. I’m not sure these reasons are real. One of these reasons is that I am a woman. That’s why I read this article, and I was appreciative of this advice:

…while female travelers experience the world differently than male ones, experienced women are more likely to find advantages, while novices are more likely to focus on staying out of trouble. This makes sense: the longer you spend on the road, the savvier you get. You begin to place situations in context to assess their danger level, and you begin to trust your own instincts.

Even if I start out as a vulnerable and silly solo traveler, I will get better. Travel savvy is not a finite thing built in to my DNA. Noted.

I also got a lot of reassurance from that article that it’s not necessary –or even relevant– to plunge myself into the drunken night life in order to get to know a place. Maybe I can save some money on that fake wedding ring.

My favorite advice from the article was:

…take a tampon everywhere. It’s not just good for your own period, it’s a bonding experience. If you’re in a crowded train, or a hostel room, or a bus ride, and someone doesn’t have one, you just made a new friend by giving yours away.

This is so true.

So, my goal is to complete 5 days of solo travel outside the Casco Antiguo (old city center). I won’t set a deadline. Hopefully I’ll breeze right through it, and I am so excited to set my next goal from there!

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