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Women and travel

(8 Posts)
Amethyst24 Tue 20-Jan-15 13:00:26

My lovely nephew is staying with us at the moment. He's just finishing off three months of solo travel around Europe and North Africa, and he's had incredible experiences, especially spending three nights in the Sahara desert with a guide and a camel, sleeping in a tent.

It makes me so sad and so cross that an experience like his would be pretty much impossible for a 22-year-old woman on her own. Sure, we can travel alone safely in some parts of the world, but it's just made me realise how many experiences women are still excluded from.

No point to this really - it just made me feel a bit wistful.

grimbletart Tue 20-Jan-15 13:02:30

On the positive side Amethyst… my daughter did just that (twice) when she was in her late teens and early 20s in Africa, Asia and America.

Amethyst24 Tue 20-Jan-15 13:05:27

I'm really pleased to hear that grimble - good for her! It's not impossible, I agree, just more difficult and unfortunately more dangerous.

grimbletart Tue 20-Jan-15 13:13:18

I agree - I spent the best part of two years on and off with my heart in my mouth. It was before the days of email and mobile phones, so no contact except the odd phone call and month old postcards from exotic corners of the earth.

I did the same, though not as extensively, when I was young. My poor mum must have have suffered though my adventures in just the same way.

The females in our family have a very 'can do' attitude. After all, my granny was a suffragette!

Hazchem Wed 21-Jan-15 05:30:55

I travelled a fair bit myself in my early 20s mainly I guess to safe places like russia. I'm not sure that women can't travel solo and have an amazing time but we do it with the same awareness that men everywhere are still men NALMATL.

MrsFionaCharming Wed 21-Jan-15 13:34:05

I totally agree Amethyst.

I'd love to visit the World Guiding Centre in India. But travelling through India alone on public transport seems like such an unecessary risk. So I'm having to wait until I hear of a group going that I can join with.

Unlike my brother who's been travelling around Asia alone for 2 months.

slug Wed 21-Jan-15 14:48:50

I spent much of my late 20s and early 30s traveling round the world on my own. I found being a woman on my own brought out the protective instincts of many people. For example, I arrived into Salt Lake city at 3am (delayed train from Vegas) The station staff needed to close the station but because I didn't have anywhere yet sorted to stay (I was using youth hostels mainly) they closed the station around me, leaving me in the waiting room with access to the bathrooms. they then locked the place up around me telling me how to get out in an emergency if needed. I was safe and reasonably comfortable until they came back to open the station at 7:30am. This service was not offered to lone men on the train.

I've traveled through Europe both central and Eastern, Russia, not long after the wall came down, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, North America, bits of South East Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia etc) and other, more well beaten places. I've told DD that as soon as she gets too old to want to go on holiday with the family, I'm ditching her Dad and going backpacking on my own again.

All I take to defend myself is my trusty Swiss Army kinife and a steely glare.

GoatsDoRoam Wed 21-Jan-15 16:59:56

There are travel experiences that are pretty much off-limits to single women: the example you state of nights in the Sahara is a good one: I know of women who were raped by their guides while out in the desert, with their lives in these men's hands, and depending on them still to get back out of the desert after being raped.

Horrid.

I am not sure that the benefits of being a solo female traveller (having access to women in more conservative societies) outweigh the pitfalls.

Still, I have travelled alone and will continue to do so; it does limit my choices though. I am going to read the book and see the movie "Wild" with interest, as I too want to travel solo in the wilderness, but know (see Sahara stories above) how chancy it can be for a woman. And that every encounter I have with a man while out in the wilderness alone will be a "Schroedinger's Rapist" moment.

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