Solo fe­male travel

Orlando Sentinel - - OPINION -

I found the rec­om­men­da­tions in Rick Steves’ ar­ti­cle (“Trav­el­ing solo em­pow­er­ing for women,” Dec. 23) lack­ing in fem­i­nine in­sight as I do not be­lieve our only con­cerns while trav­el­ing are pick pock­et­ing and how to avoid be­ing hit on. I can’t even count the num­ber of times some­one has called me “brave” for trav­el­ing solo. I in­ter­nally roll my eyes when asked how it feels to eat alone and what I do to com­bat lone­li­ness.

Prepa­ra­tion and plan­ning are of the ut­most im­por­tance. My num­ber one rule was to ar­rive and de­part dur­ing day­light hours to avoid the vul­ner­a­bil­ity and stress of car­ry­ing all of my pos­ses­sions around in the dark. I also mapped out lit­er­ally ev­ery step from my ac­com­mo­da­tions to the air­port and vice versa be­fore I left to avoid any sur­prises. The most im­por­tant thing is your pass­port, which I slept with once or twice.

In Ire­land, Italy, Greece, and Australia I went out alone at night sans fake wed­ding ring and had no dan­ger­ous en­coun­ters -sure, some men hollered at me and stopped to talk to me but I paid them no at­ten­tion and walked on con­fi­dently. My thoughts were oc­cu­pied with de­ci­sions about where to eat, what to do next, and how I felt about what I had ex­pe­ri­enced -- not about the fact that I was alone. Trav­el­ling solo is not for the faint­hearted. It can be stress­ful and even trau­ma­tiz­ing if some­thing goes wrong. I would do it again without a doubt as it made me a stronger per­son. Maria Voorhees May­dan Mait­land

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