Is It Safe For Women to Travel Alone?

By Teresa Roberts

NABBW’s Expert on Living Abroad

Very recently, I returned home from another great trip abroad. I was in Ireland, which is like a second home to me, enjoying some leisure time and sightseeing before I attended the TBEX travel blogger’s conference which was being held in Dublin.

teresa ireland photo 1013aI even got to take a much anticipated trip into Northern Ireland for the first time. As usual, while preparing for my trip, I reviewed the common safety practices that I adhere to when traveling solo.

People often ask me if it is safe for women to travel alone. My short answer is yes and no. Women have always had to pay attention lest they be caught alone and taken advantage of by an uninvited and unwelcome predator.

That scenario is more common than we would like to think and probably dates back to ancient times.

All women, regardless of age, have a good reason to be suspicious of strangers lurking in the dark. However, you do not need to go to a foreign country to find trouble. Unfortunately, it is close at hand, even in our own neighborhoods. The moral of the story is to take precautions at home or abroad.

Having said all of the above, I am happy to report that as women become more and more independent in their spirits, the way they lead their daily lives begins to change. Many women have taken responsibility for their own lives and as a result desire more personal freedom to counterbalance the duties that they have embraced.

Baby boomer women are considerably different than many of their mothers and definitely than their grandmothers. Many of us have been breadwinners, raising children even as a single parent. Getting an education, pursuing a career, managing the concerns of family budgets, even the opportunity to make really good money has thrust us into an independent role in society. Independence is an aphrodisiac for many people. Once tasted, it is very difficult to go back to a dependent state of mind.

I have traveled abroad with my husband, with my sisters and by myself. I have to admit that all three ways of traveling are very satisfying. There are things that you can get from traveling with a companion that you cannot get from traveling alone.

However, traveling alone has an element of freedom to it that is impossible to compare to traveling with another person. Traveling solo is a well-deserved perk of being an independent woman that I cannot imagine relinquishing.

Teresa Ireland rope bridge 1013bI have met scores of women, young and old, who are traveling around the world with great confidence, some have actually chosen to live abroad. During my recent trip to Ireland, I shared a meal with two women of different ages who were traveling solo like me. One was a young nineteen-year-old girl who was exploring the UK and Ireland for several months. The other lady, in her forties, after receiving a severance package when she lost her job, decided to take the money and travel. The three of us discussed our mutual joy of traveling solo and shared safety tips that we had picked up along the way.

When I went to Spain earlier this year, I sat next to an 83-year-old woman who was traveling alone and loving every minute of it. I have to say, her upbeat attitude and enthusiasm for life made her seem years younger than her actual age. Some of the most interesting women that I have had the privilege of knowing, I met while on the road.

Of course, bad things do continue to happen to good people, even cautious people. Yet, many of us, after exercising a reasonable amount of caution, arrive at the conclusion that the fear associated with all of the “what-ifs” in life does not outweigh the fear of growing old while saying “I could\’ve, would\’ve and should\’ve”.

You only get to live once and doing what you love to do should never be traded for a false sense of security. So, boomer ladies, if there are places on your bucket list that you want to see with your own eyes, start making plans today to go. It may turn out to be one of the best decisions that you ever made in your life.

Cheers,

Teresa Roberts

Teresa Roberts retired early from a career in education to travel the world as an international house sitter. Along the way, she accidentally became an author/blogger/freelance writer, adding digital nomad to her evolving job description. Although insisting that she is still retired, Teresa writes a weekly blog on her website Creative Paths to Freedom, exploring the topics of creative living, travel adventures and life without debt. Her essay, How to Travel Without Being a Tourist, appears in the book 65 Things to Do When You Retire – Travel, released in February 2013. Teresa\’s published books include Finding the Gypsy in Me – Tales of an International House Sitter and Creative Paths to Freedom – How to Live Your Dream Life ASAP. She could be the poster girl for finding adventure at any age and on any income. Sharing her story as a guest speaker is also very rewarding. Feel free to contact Teresa at www.findingthegypsyinme.com.