“It is in all of us to defy expectations, to go into the world and to be brave, and to want, to need, to hunger for adventures. To embrace the chance and risk so that we may breathe and know what it is to be free.” ~Mae Chevrette
“What a beautiful sunset… I’m grateful for you and love you,” I whispered.
I was speaking to the sun, the world… myself… all of it. That sentence was followed by the biggest exhale my 25-year-old self could muster up. I’d just finished walking two miles on the beach in Negril, Jamaica then finished by watching the sunset. All solo. As the sun dipped below the horizon, I settled into a moment of gratitude for getting myself here — both metaphorically and literally — alone and confident on a beach in paradise.
This blissed-out moment came several days into my solo trip to the Caribbean island. I was, as you might have surmised, in heaven. Not only was I basking every day in the salty sea and tropic sun, but I was getting to know myself on a deeper level — mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically, thanks to a 30-day online yoga course. I was also taking myself on daily sunrise and sunset strolls and enjoying my internal commentary more than I ever have. I found out she/me is quite funny actually and full of great ideas like sleeping with the windows open instead of the fake-ass AC, refusing the temptation of “plans,” and walking around my condo naked swigging coconut water straight from the jug like a proper bachelorette.
You see, when you’re able to connect back with yourself and your internal voice and intuition, you naturally focus in on who you really are. You get to snatch power back and away from the firmly held grasp of the masculine-governed world. You are in full control of your environment and actions without the need to match a partner – whether it be a companion, lover, or group of friends – and their energies and moods. And no place is better for the bevy of fresh experiences that come with “being your own damned woman” like being on the road.
In my eyes, traveling alone as a woman is one of the most empowering things a person can do. It subverts the outdated histories, myths, and stereotypes of our female ancestors — terrified to venture off on their own, in need of constant protection. Traveling alone reminds us that we can take care of ourselves (because admittedly, there are risks) and enjoy our own company. In the process, we unleash the power within ourselves and come to terms with just how strong we are when we take the step alone into the spotlight.
In short, traveling alone as women allows us to become the main characters of our stories. Without men trying to wrest control from us.
As I hinted before, traveling as a solo female comes with great responsibility and inherent risk. But there are ways to mitigate those risks with calculated and educated decision-making — Uproxx has a whole list of traveler-tested methods. Of course… most women already take active measures in their daily lives to be on alert: not walking alone at night, keeping their location services on for a couple of trusted friends and family members, being aware of their surroundings, locking their car and house doors at all times, etc. These same principles are applied when traveling alone, just in a different key.
So why do so many women love solo travel so much?
I think it’s because of how it makes us feel — standing tall among the mountains, the forests, the oceans, and skies, and tackling all obstacles. It’s also a revelation. A realization that we don’t have to wait for people to join us to go to the five-star restaurant in our home cities, take the ultimate road trip, or jump out of a freaking airplane.
We have ourselves. And that, ladies, is as powerful as it gets.
It’s cliche to say, but almost all cliches have a kernel of truth hiding: at the end of the day, all you have is yourself. Do you want to be laying in bed at night, regretting all the times you said “no” to the adventures knocking on your door just because you don’t want to go it alone? I know I don’t. That realization has never been as clear as it was on that beach in Jamaica.
It’s a lesson I’m sure to carry forward the next time I hear the world calling my name. I hope it rings true for you, too.