Saturday, September 15, 2007

Women Traveling Solo Should Not Be an Issue


I have always wanted to own a hotel. I would play "hotel" as a child where I sat up a reservations desk and welcomed guests (grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, neighborhood kids, my cat and dog- we were animal friendly) into my luxury hotel. I have not let go of that dream yet. Today I searched Yahoo under the search terms "women hotel owners," "female hoteliers" and "female hotel owners." I had a really difficult time finding out about owners of hotels that were female. I guess it's a non-issue. To be a hotel owner, it does not matter if you are male or female. What I did find angered me. Truly, I was really upset. Instead of finding hotels owners I found articles about how hotels are beginning to "woo" female travelers. I found FAQ articles about whether women should travel if they are going to travel alone. I found articles about female only floors at hotels. I found articles all over the Internet about women traveling solo, but I could not find what I was really seeking. Now, I'm angry. Frankly, I am offended. Why?

I am upset that women need to even ask if it is OK for them to travel solo. This, just like whether hotels are owned by women or men, should be a non-issue. I am not sure why this is such a frequently asked question. Why are women afraid of traveling solo, if at all? What is so scary about traveling?

Women take risks every day that are equivalent to the risks they would take if traveling. For example, if I need to eat I go to the grocery store and buy food. Usually, I need to find some mode of transportation to get me to the store to get my food. I have several options for transportation. I can walk, catch a bus, drive a car. It is simple really. I can do all these things even though I am a women. I imagine that women in Australia, England, Japan or-I'm going out on a limb here-even China, have similar struggles. In fact, I have actually observed women in Australia, England and Japan at grocery stores (not China because I have never been) when I was traveling. Alone. Gasp! Women in those countries I assume need to eat and like most regions of the world they go to stores that sell food so they can buy the food to eat. When I go to other countries, I must eat. I go to the store, I buy food, take it home, prepare it and eat it. Just like the women in those countries do it and just like I do it back home. Shopping for food (alone) and traveling (alone) can be accomplished regardless of gender.

By writing articles and books specifically geared toward teaching women how to travel alone we are perpetuating the myth that women should be afraid to travel. I feel like we are basically telling women it's a big scary world out there, traveling is risky and if you are going to travel in such a big scary place you better be prepared because this is going to be h-a-r-d. So hard, in fact, that we have to write this 200 page book about it. We will hold your hand and guide you step-by-step into this big, bad world. Be prepared because you might run into a man. When you do accidentally encounter the male species in the world, you will have wanted to pack your hairbrush but not your hairdryer (because your hotel might already have one and you need to save space for your black high heels that match all of your black wardrobe). I am going to go all out and say "Ladies! You should travel regardless, not despite the fact that you are a woman! You are already smart enough to survive in life, therefore you are smart enough to travel." Women travelers should not be admired. They should not be called brave. Women travelers should be treated like they would be treated at home-like normal, functional, decision making adults. Although, I do believe men should open doors for women. I will not treat women any differently. In fact, I will not even have a "women only floor" at my hotel when I have one. But I may have a girls getaway spa package. Don't worry, I'll have a guys golf getaway. But only because I believe in equal opportunity profit.

16 comments:

Karinaxoxo said...

What a great post! I am currently trying to overcome my 'fear' of travelling alone!
Any tips?!?!

chris2x said...

I am interviewing a woman next week who has been traveling all over the world, mostly on her own or with people she has met on the way.

Chris Christensen
Amateur Traveler
http://AmateurTraveler.com

---

I am currently trying to overcome my 'fear' of travelling alone!
Any tips?!?!

K. said...

You tell'em girl. lol @ encountering the male species.

Its really sad and annoying that alot of women have never even imagined going out into the world alone! I get stunned looks from suburban housewives all the time, that I actually goto a city where I dont know anyone (they act like that is the worst thing in the world)--despite the fact that my job pays for everything, and always sets me up in a cozy suburb. Its really, really sad!

I guess its up to ballsy women like us to let them know, "its okay to go out and meet new people", and that all it takes is some darn common sense. The other day the janitor was shocked that I was from Detroit, but living in Philly. Whats shocking about that??! Even though its not random, and I travel because of my job, he described it as "So you just pop into strange cities?". Huh???? So its not only women who have this fear and closemindedness of leaving the box, but some men too.

This past weekend, I [gasp] went to new york alone. I was one of two females in the hostel, the other one was a girl from Hong Kong, travelling solo. Now, the first thing my coworker asked was "do you have friends there???" Yeah, I do...but I had no plans to contact them, as I was only in town for a couple of days and had my own agenda.

Jer said...

karina- here's how I over my fear of traveling alone..I think to myself what if I never find anyone to go with and end up not going at all. That scares me more than traveling alone!

chris- I don't believe YOU have a fear of traveling alone!!

k- you're a rockstar! that's all i can say! i've never done the hostel thing in New York! one of only two girls in the hostel yes! that's an adventure in itself...if you can handle that you can handle anything!

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