When Women Travel the World Alone
To the Editor:
Re “Adventurous. Alone. Attacked” (Travel section, March 31):
I have traveled the world, mostly alone, and I have one piece of advice for women: Go! Being a woman alone no doubt elicits dangers, and I have experienced them firsthand. I have been followed, harassed, grabbed, spat on, threatened and mugged by groups of men. These experiences were scary and, yes, could have been far worse.
But the most beautiful parts of the world are also ours alone to experience.
I have been invited into homes by three generations of women and have shared meals with their families in Turkey. I have traveled in crowded Indian trains with a family of all women, from the Ganges to the mountains of Darjeeling. I was led to one of the world’s remaining hanging temples by a group of women in central China.
Women have kinship that crosses borders and cultural differences. Women protect one another. And if you are open, women will crack open their beautiful worlds and cultures in a way I imagine that a solo man could never experience.
Yes, the world is dangerous. But for women alone, it can also be truly beautiful, almost transcendent.
To the Editor:
The world is a precarious place, but women will continue to travel alone and with one another, especially the baby boomers, who have more disposable income and time.
Solo travel is a transformative experience for both men and women. Lifelong friendships are often a result. It is the responsibility of every traveler to research cultural dynamics and safety tips before departure.
There is an imperative for countries to make travel safer for them. The opportunity for government educational programs, the tourism industry and grass-roots efforts, along with new products and services, is big. High-profile international food and beverage chains might want to consider the value of supporting solo travelers with safety tips on their cups.
Ms. Bond is the author of “Gutsy Women.” Ms. Geraci is a brand consultant.
To the Editor:
We must model self-protection strategies and behaviors for our children, especially our daughters, so that they grow up more savvy. With the world becoming borderless, our children have more opportunities than ever to travel without adult supervision.
This is personal to me, because my daughter will study international affairs next year. She will be required to study abroad. I don’t want her only preparation to be a one-hour talk about safety before she goes; the emotional, mental and physical preparation critical to dissuading predators must be practiced and honed.
We don’t normally talk about these dangers with our children (or anyone anymore) because we might frighten them or make them uncomfortable. I’d rather my daughter be a little afraid than a lot dead.
Terre Haute, Ind.
The writer is the author of “Vigilance: The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Personal Safety, Self-Protection Measures and Countermeasures.”