There are just a few things that annoy me as much as judgements expressed by people on something they don’t know or they just have an a priori negative opinion.
Since I’ve travelled alone, I bumped often into this kind of people and I usually stop and listen to them in order to understand their point of view. Sometimes I must admit that I had fun.
Recently, I was in an airport and an Italian guy sat beside me starting to chat. He flooded me with questions, the typical ones asked when you want to break the ice a little. He asked me if I was living in that country and I was going back home. I answered no, that I had just gone to spend a weekend there. “Do you have a girlfriend living here”, he asked me then. Since I negatively nodded with my head, he said as scripted, “Do you travel alone?” highlighting that adverb in an unmistakable way, with a kind of surprised tone that I’m sure every solo woman traveller knows very well.
“Yes”, I answered him flatly.
“You don’t have a boyfriend, right?”
Well, this is one of the most common prejudices, according to which if a woman travels alone she hasn’t or can’t have a relationship. She must be a confirmed single or she was dumped and she’s going around looking for something to distract her in order to kill depression. Or maybe she’s a lame without friends.
I nodded yes, just to tease him, because I was curious to know what he would say. “If I was your boyfriend I wouldn’t leave you travelling alone, are you kidding me? A woman can’t do it”. I immediately understood that his statement was not moved by the dangers that a solo woman could have to deal with, but just by a quite narrow point of view.
“Why?” I continued, “If the relationship is founded on trust, what is the obstacle?”
“If a woman loves me, she needs me, she can’t live without me and therefore she can’t leave alone”.
In his sentence, I noticed a word that immediately made me turn my nose up: “needs”.
I have a different point of view on love compared with that of the person in front of me. One’s desires shouldn’t be ever confused with needs.
Eating, sleeping, drinking are needs, whereas being in a relationship with someone is not a need and should never be.
“A woman travelling alone seems to me a woman too confident, who wants to have fun and is looking for adventures”. He touched my arm, looking intensely in my eyes “This is not your case for sure, since you are engaged”. I held a smile back. I would have been offended, yet I didn’t feel touched by his words in any way.
I travel alone because my economic possibilities and my free time often don’t match with those of my friends.
I’m a woman travelling alone because i like following my pace and my style
that is not always the same of the others; because I love challenging myself and learning something new on me every time; and I don’t travel looking for adventures, because you don’t need to go out of your country to find them.
When I travel, I use to go out early in the morning and I enjoy all the hours of light, walking, jumping from a bus to the other, going back exhausted, and then I just need a shower and a bed, not a man. I alternate moments in which I’m the most opened human being in the world with moments when I’m a bashful lone wolf, and my only desire is to have a walk and enjoy the silence, the sun on my skin, the perfumes of nature, a sunset on the rocks, a book to read on the grass.
I’m a shiny happy and kind traveller, but you, man don’t get close just because you see me alone and you think that I need the warmth of your body, don’t approach me convinced that I’m available, just because I’m travelling alone.
I’m not as confident as that guy thought, not yet. Before entering a plane or a train, I begin being flooded with thousands of paranoia and phobias and I ask myself why I’m doing it. I travel alone because I want to free myself from these limiting fears.
So, remember this when you bump into a solo woman travelling.