Photo: Andrew E. Russell
1. We worry enough about ourselves, you don’t need to do it for us.
We’re not stupid. We watch the news, hear the stories, and see the problems around the world the same as you do. We understand the dangers and potential threats of our travel plans without you having to remind us. Constantly bringing up the dangers is not only stressful and annoying, but honestly a little bit offensive. We are not naive. We’ve thought long and hard about this. Yes there are risks, but we are prepared to take them.
2. Your criticisms just make us want to go even more.
Our plans may not be something you would be comfortable doing but this isn’t about you, we’re doing this for us. Please respect that and, unless you have something positive or of actual value to say, keep your mouth shut. The more you flaunt your negative opinions, the more we want to prove you wrong. Constantly vocalizing your doubts you will only push us out the door that much faster. We’re stubborn like that.
3. We’re not all lost or broken.
There seems to be a general belief that women traveling alone or for extended periods of time are running away from something; the end of a relationship, a death, a sudden change in life that we just can’t deal with, etc.
That’s actually the plot of Eat Pray Love, not our life stories. And while you may come across a woman who is traveling to take a break from something (which, I would like to point out, men do too) most of us are just keen for an adventure. We saw an opportunity, and took it.
4. We’re not (always) looking for love.
While the notion of finding the love of your life on the road is a romantic one, it’s not why we bought the plane ticket. Plenty of female travelers are in committed relationships, whether they are traveling with their partner or not. As for those of us who are single? We really are doing just great by ourselves. So please don’t assume that because we’re sharing a dorm, we’re also going to share your bed or a shower. If that’s what we actually want, we’ll be the first to let you know. Until then, do everyone a favor and keep it in your pants.
5. We’re not “one size fits all”.
There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ female traveler. Some of us may pack stilettos and a massive makeup kit into a hot pink rolling suitcase, while others will cram the very basics into a patched and worn backpack. Neither makes us a better, or worse traveler. We each have different styles, interests, and comfort zones. And that’s okay. So don’t judge us because we packed 10x more than you, or don’t look as girly and put together as you think we should. Concentrate on doing your thing and we’ll do ours. If it’s not working out, we’ll realize it for ourselves. But chances are we’re pretty happy with the way things are.
6. We appreciate your help, but we’re here for the experience.
Most of us appreciate a bit of chivalry. While we will always question whether the guy is opening the door for us because he is a gentleman or just a guy trying to get a better look at our butts, we understand that people are (mostly) just trying to be kind. But please don’t go overboard; let us haggle, barter, and navigate on our own. It’s part of the experience, part of the fun. If we really are complete crap at it then give us some tips and tricks but don’t do it for us. Let us figure things out for ourselves, we’re up for the challenge.
7. It’s us against the world, and we’re out to win.
Many of us have had to fight for our travel experiences. Whether it be convincing worried family and parents, or even battling our own fears. Chances are there have been some angry words and a few tears shed before our departure. We’re stubborn enough to hide our worries and fears but we are constantly on alert and worst case scenarios are always in the back of our minds. But we’re here to push boundaries — our own and society’s. We want to prove that we are strong and capable. Independent and able to do things just as well as than a man. We want to be the hero, not the princess. So help us if we need it, but don’t get in our way. Let us have our moment to shine.
8. We love that you look out for us, even though we don’t always admit it.
Yes we are independent, and yes we may flaunt that independence and strength in your face, but sometimes we get scared. Even though we may not say it out loud, we are grateful when you step in when things get awkward, or stick up for us when you see that we are being harassed. So whether you are a man with good intentions, or a fellow female on the road, thank you for having our backs and for being a part of the reason why we feel comfortable, as women, exploring what this amazing planet has to offer. You’re part of the good in the world that we are trying so hard to share with everyone else.