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Photo by NeoGaboX

Ara-Danielle Uniza ditches her inhibitions in Central America.
German guy

Less than a week on the road, I woke up naked to the sound of rain pouring over the tent in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. My head pounding, I rolled over to my side to find the German guy I’d met the night before sleeping next to me, mouth gaping open, wrapped like a cocoon in his blanket.

I remember feeling that I had done something horribly wrong. With my guilty conscience kicking into high gear, I did the first thing I could think of doing: I got dressed as quietly and quickly as possible before sneaking out of the tent in the wee hours of the morning.

The first time always feels a bit wrong.

Growing up in a society where casual sex plus female was almost always synonymous with a slew of derogatory terms, it was hard not to feel guilt or shame. It’s the double standard. Casual sex for men is praiseworthy, another notch on the bedpost, but for women it’s a reason for behind-the-back name calling. I’d never realized it before, but I guess I had accepted it without question.

New Zealander

A few weeks later on a humid evening in Panama City, I found myself lying on rumpled sheets, my hair in knots and face dripping with sweat, next to a New Zealander I’d met a few nights prior. In that post-coital moment as we both lay unmoving, breathing heavily, I felt emboldened by liquid courage and broke the silence by saying almost too casually, “I won’t be here when you wake up.”

He lay quietly as thin streaks of moonlight seeped through cracks in the windowpanes, drawing lines over his face, obscuring my view of his reaction. I turned my head to catch his gaze, coaxing him to respond. He seemed at a loss for words, but after a few seconds of silence, he finally responded with, “I would really like it if you stayed.”

The way his voice softened when he uttered those words made me realize he was just as vulnerable as I was. We were in a situation where our societal norms didn’t exist; the media-glorified roles of the prowling-promiscuous-male and hesitant-attached-female didn’t belong here. Traveling life is a version of reality where everyone is a deviant and sexual desires run rampant. And, it’s okay. No one is there to judge.

It was liberating.

French-Canadian guy

A few months later, on my last night in Mexico, I found myself sitting on my bed packing all my belongings into my dirty orange backpack.

I heard two knocks before my door creaked open. In stepped a French-Canadian guy from Quebec. He was a few years younger than me, usually a deal breaker at home. I’d spent a few nights with him in Playa del Carmen three weeks prior, and while I enjoyed his company, I found our chance meeting across the country in Puerto Escondido an inconvenience.

We exchanged a bit of small talk for formality’s sake, and without further insinuation, delved into the question of whether or not I’d be spending the night with him. I told him I’d rather be alone. I was stunned at how casually I responded to a topic I used to find so taboo that even a slight allusion sent blood rushing to my cheeks as if I were sitting in front of my parents having “the talk.”

Every moment is always the right moment, and there is no such thing as shame.

With nothing to lose, inhibitions are often the first things left on the side of the road in the world of travel. There’s no such thing as beating around the bush, or waiting for the right moment. Every moment is always the right moment, and there is no such thing as shame.

The logic is always that if you ever feel so inclined, you’re free to leave as you please to be someone else, somewhere else.

I watched as he slowly got up, his eyes lingering on the ground, as if trying to find the right words to counter my rebuff. After a few moments of silence, defeated, he wished me a safe journey as he walked out the door. It at first creaked slowly behind him before slamming shut.


As I continued to pack, my eyes, every so often, gazed toward the entry. Waiting.

He was a law student in Uruguay, and I had taken a liking to him in the last week I spent in Puerto Escondido. He was tall, unshaven, with long, dark, curly hair and an accent that made my knees weak. He smiled as he walked into my room, locking the door behind him. Neither of us said a word. I got up to turn off the lights, as he pulled the curtains shut, making sure not a single speck of light would find its way into the room.

We would spend the night feeling our way around each other in the pitch darkness. We devoured each other, wildly.

It was a perfect last night. Even more so, because I knew I’d never have to see him again.



About The Author

Ara-Danielle Uniza

Ara-Danielle Uniza is a just an ordinary girl going through a quarter life crisis. Recently leaving her life in Boston, she has since spent her time traveling and finding ways to avoid going back to the real world. Her current goal in life is to travel around the world, hoping to pick up a few things about love, writing and life on the way. You can follow her on her blog, Girl Plus World.

  • EHA

    Shit, this made me squirm. It made me uncomfortable but simultaneously jealous of your transparency. Sex on the road is an interesting phenomenon that I think deserves more coverage…I think most people who travel long-term can identify with many of your experiences and the notions of eroticism amplified by the fact that “you’ll never see him again.”

    And as a woman, I identified with all of your thoughts on sex-shaming. It really grinds my gears, but the older I get, the less I let it bother me.

    Anyways, I was really impressed by this. Keep writing! :)

    • Ara-Danielle Uniza

      Hi Emily! Thanks for reading :)  To be honest, I am having a hard time re-reading my own writing because it makes me squirm a bit too. As for transparency, the thought of people reading this makes me feel like I’m standing naked in front of a group of strangers.

  • fottles

    I agree that sex whilst travelling is a completely different story – taboos and social norms are kind of forgotten and you’re just left with two people wanting to enjoy themselves and each other… but as EHA stated, this article made me squirm, too. Sounds a bit too much like a chick-lit/erotic novel. 

    • Ara-Danielle Uniza

      Thanks for reading! :) I definitely agree on the squirmy-part. Glad you can relate!

  • Shannon Switzer

    My question is, should society be trained to accept that it is a positive thing for women to be promiscuous, or would it be better for society to realize that it is a negative thing for men too? I sometimes get sad by the mentality that to be “equal” to men, us women have to flaunt and own sex without attachment as something that has no consequences, like men seem to be able to do so easily. 

    • Carlo Alcos

      I don’t think it’s that they “have” to…it’s just a matter of having that choice without consequence. Why should anyone, male or female, be judged?

    • onlysky

      I don’t think there should be a positive or a negative association either way.  Your sex life should be respected as a private topic, and you (plus your partners) should be the only ones granted a judgement at all.  

    • Steve Spence

      but is not a good  behavour male or female why do want to something just becasue be male do it so easily it does not make the action less dangereous

  • Rhonda Mix

    While traveling I’ve met a lot of people who have this attitude about sex.  Maybe it’s they’re young and trying to escape reality or they just can’t cope with being away from home and the loneliness that can come to solo travelers.  Some people just can’t handle being alone.  A lot of these people get caught up in the expat party scene and IMO don’t really get to know the heart of a country because they’re too busy at their full moon parties or getting drunk at the local bar with the other foreigners.  Perhaps this sounds a bit judgmental but I agree with Shannon below.  And I also feel that not only is sleeping around NOT liberating, it’s puts women exactly back where they they don’t want to be.  Viewed as sex objects by men.  And making themselves look cheap at the same time.

    • EHA

      Is it perhaps possible that a woman has sex not to “feel liberated” or “because she’s lonely” but because she’s a human animal and it feels damn good?

      • Rhonda Mix

         The author stated having sex with random strangers made her feel liberated. 

        • EHA

          She did say it was liberating. She said it was liberating because there was no one there to judge ;)

    • Ara-Danielle Uniza

      Why do the words “sex object” and “cheap” have to pop up when talking about women and casual sex? Surely there must be a less derogatory-term-heavy way of talking about this… 

      I also have to comment that if I ever found myself sleeping around to overcome the “loneliness” of traveling alone then it’s probably time to go home. 

      • Rhonda Mix

        *duplicate post deleted

      • Rhonda Mix

         IMO anyone who sleeps around, male or female, is making themselves and their partners cheap.  It’s not exclusive to females.

        But this is just my opinion.  And in today’s world I know it’s seen outdated by many.

        When I lived in Taiwan, foreigners had to take an HIV test to get an ARC
        to remain in the country.  As many told me, passing the HIV test was
        like the green light for sexapades.  I heard the term “That weekend was
        like a revolving door,” more than once.

        Am I the only one who find this disturbing?

        If you enjoy sleeping around, that’s your choice. 

        But I think it’s more liberating for women (and men) to live monkish
        lifestyles while abroad (think Eat, Pray, Love), developing emotional
        and spiritual strength.  Knowing they can be ok completely alone.

        Many people have chances for exotic flings during their travels. The
        ones who find themselves most liberated are those who focus on learning
        about the cultures of whatever countries they’re visiting, turning those
        experiences into love affairs. 

        • Joan McKniff

          Eat, Pray, and Love…Monkish? She was constantly being  rescued or saved by men. Plus she was carrying out a trip to match and outline of a book already accepted by a publisher. Not the way she portrayed things in her book.

          • Rhonda Mix

             I just meant initially she sought out the trip to clear her head and better herself as a person instead of jumping immediately into the sack with someone to make herself feel better about being alone.

        • Kayydj

          I’ve never actually felt the desire to post on any article before…but I have to say this piece of writing really caught my attention.

          I dont think anyone on this forum would agree that travel affects each one of us the same….what “liberates” us as human beings, and helps our own personal growth differs from person to person. While one person may feel degraded after sleeping with someone they don’t know, someone else may feel full of life. There is no way that one path will ever be the “properly set way” towards liberation. And just because sex gets mixed into your travels does NOT mean you bypass any cultural, emotional, or spiritual experiences. (And just to clarify…I’m pretty sure the author was NOT talking about contributing to the sex tourism industry as it seems that you are hinting at when bringing up Taiwan…but instead talking about nights she has spent with other travellers)

          I loved the article AD. I think that understanding the body both physically and emotionally is an important aspect for females, and that too often sex is boxed up in pre-conceived notions of what it means to be a women and sexually active. If travel is meant to liberate, then experiences of brief lust, love, and passion should be given credence. Your article definitely poses questions about feminine sexuality that pushes societal norms, and I think that thats never a bad thing.  Loved the piece….I mean come on, sometimes a girl just likes a good orgasm, and thats the end of that.

          • Rhonda Mix

             Taiwan doesn’t really have a sex tourism industry. I was talking about the many foreigners living in the country or passing through who sleep around with locals and one another.

  • Meli

    All analytics aside…I loved this piece! What society says, thinks or do about women …I can only tell you I ran out of fucks to give. Great story!

    • Ara-Danielle Uniza

      As you should! Thanks :)

  • Raymond Thimmes

    I really enjoyed this piece. As a self-proclaimed “sheltered mid-western shy boy” I am always amazed and sometimes in awe of how easily love is shared in other parts of the world. I really, really need to get out of Ohio. So very badly.

    I can’t agree with the other comments that this made me particularly squirm or that it read as erotic in any nature. Your unashamed Bukowskiesque
    (is that a term a BFA can use?) honesty was wonderful and not in any way tawdry like Marie Calloway or other shock alt-lit writers. There was something more pure about this. Something that made me want to sit next to you in front of a fire and hear more of your stories. Thank you.

    • Raymond Thimmes

      Also I didn’t intend my comment about Marie Calloway to be offensive in any way to anyone. Hope it reads as a compliment to both of you.

    • Ara-Danielle Uniza

      Hi Raymond! I think the use of the term “Bukowskiesque” is hands down the best compliment ever. Thanks :) 

  • Christina Lidstone

    Thank you for putting this out there, it is so true and I really identify with it a lot. I think that this is such a big part of traveling for me, it’s exciting to meet new people and always have the mystery and excitement of hooking up for a night and then leaving. So many adventures! All the comments have interesting and good points too. Thanks!!

  • onlysky

    Thank you for posting this!  One of the thrills of traveling so rarely told from a woman’s perspective.  Love it.

  • Cheap London escorts

    Everyone know that sex is the part of our life. Sex is good for our life, it gives the physical health benefit to the people.

  • Joloughery

    Not sure why I waited so long to post my comment but something simply won’t let me be in peace until I do,  Ara-Danielle.

    First, this is so beautifully written…couldn’t agree more with others who’ve commented on this.  Your choice of experiences to share were simply inspired.

    Second, one of the hardest things that many of us face as we grow older are regrets over missed opportunities…those times when our fears keep us from doing things that we, later, realize could have been absolutely the right thing for us and, perhaps, simply wonderful.  Earlier in my life, while traveling, I had the opportunity to liberate myself from sexual constraints in the way that you have, but I simply couldn’t do it.  I still vividly recall some of the beautiful men who approached me.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that, had I said yes to at least some of them, I would be living with far fewer regrets today.

    Sincerely…thank you for your transparency.  I hope it will inspire other women to fully embrace the sexual passage of their lives that may be uniquely available to the traveler. 

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