“Who doesn’t want to travel the world?” I said, adjusting the tight gears of my tattered car, heading home. This is indeed an involuntary reply to someone who says, “I would love to travel the world”, which here was blurted my dear friend Chandni, who smothered herself with enormous amount of food stuffed into her mouth already, she could barely speak, but she had to. “Yeah! But then there is money issue. Not everyone have that much of money”. “It’s about passion” I said. Perhaps she did not know who she was talking to: a person obsessed with places. Everybody have their own way to step out of the monotony, her way was “food”, where mine happens to be “places”.
There is dacoity, there are juvenile delinquencies, there is stereotyping, drag these evils and plunge them into a corner, then there is Meditation and zillion ways for its acquisition. Meditation, to me is the interaction with that one mister hopped inside your skin and arteries, “the soul” as they call it. And I get my piece of meditation through solivagance. Okay, so you believe me or not, being a solo female traveller IS a challenge. Even if you live in a broad minded society, you aren’t about to roam around your vicinity only. Possession of a Vagina sometimes gives you great deals and privileges but what overshadows these privileges are the sufferings that are caused because of it. I don’t want to focus on those “n” numbers of problems that females face in their day to day life. We girls crib about our concerns and ignore the fact that men too are crushed beneath some illogical privileges we have. I am not trying to zoom into gender equality.
Nobody in this world tries to encourage a criminal to come forward and try them. There are many reasons why solo female travelling is a major concern; rapes, robberies and what not. Sometimes, perhaps out of excitement we make moves that gets us fallen into the pit. So, in order to kick off the confusion that has been penetrating through my head regarding this article, I went through various blogs. Besides obvious activities and steps for the safety, as pointed earlier there are slightest gestures that are often misunderstood as encouragement or disgrace.
Eye contact and smile:
Some people might take that as a signal (if you know what I mean!). As a matter of fact, sometimes eye contact is not even needed, you might get hawked anyway. The trick is to stay safe, follow your intuitions and just stay reserved with doubtful people. And you’re grown up enough to decide that.
The night guide:
Totally avoid public vehicles at night, especially when they are less crowded. Hire a radio taxi instead, and while you are on the board make sure that you give the details of the cabs to your friends or family. Even, if you don’t want to update them, pretend to, and most importantly let the driver know. When going clubbing, drink with people you can trust and don’t get sloshed, at all.
Avoid looking alone:
Yes, you are a brave girl! But if you get asked, tell people that you have a boyfriend or someone with you. Shannon O’donell in her blog says that while she waits for a bus or taxi in a stand she prefers to not look isolated by merging into the crowd by sitting near them rather than sitting at a corner.
Whenever solivagant, I keep stopping every fifteen minutes to look back and make sure that no one is following me.
Research! Research! Research!
Now this is the most important step. Even if you are boosted up with confidence, researching is always a wiser decision. This would let you know about the way you need to be dressed in order to stay safe, but also you can dig out million guidelines for yourself, not only in safety context. Look out for safer areas of the city, areas you must avoid, cultural mentality of the people, greetings and what not
Take the female privileges
Get into ladies coaches, ladies queues and take out the most of everything, whenever you can.
In the train:
Lonely Planet suggests; go for upper births, which will give you more privacy. Also, a/c tier coaches are way safer than regular sleeper class coaches.
The thing that is most miraculous is “confidence”; chuck your insecurities and your fears. Even if you’re scared, show them you are a brave girl and you have that thing that solo backpacking takes. Go places, get lost and find yourself. And don’t hover over your gender, ever.
(P.S: I do not hold the credits for the pictures 🙂 )