I’m someone who does a lot of activities alone. I never hesitate to go to the movies, the theater, museums, or to lunch solo. However when it comes to traveling, I do have a moment of hesitation. It doesn’t stop me (even overnight trips don’t keep me from hitting the road), but I do spend an extra moment in contemplation.
I’m not sure why there is necessarily this increased sense of peril. As one friend pointed out, I live in a city that has its fair share of crime, and I don’t hesitate to live alone, or go out into the city. And yet, there is something in the back of my mind that says, “take care—danger ahead.” My male friends are checking out “couch swapping” sites for cheap travel accommodations, and I know with absolute certainty that it’s an option I would never consider.
Does age have something to do with it—the development of a greater awareness of the dangers within and without? I certainly don’t remember it being much of a consideration when I was in college and traveling in Europe (then again, I was usually with at least two other people). My college roommate told me a story of about sleeping on a park bench in one city while she was roaming (though she does shake her head now at her daring), and there was a certain amount of night train travel for all of us that was probably not the wisest choice (and technically, the train car was robbed while we were asleep—valuable lessons learned there).
Is the idea of a female traveler being a bigger target an outdated concept? Are all people, regardless of gender, equally safe or at risk as they get in a car, or use the roadside motel? Perhaps that is true, but my own sense of security (or lack thereof) is still going to make me wary of connecting hotel room doors, dark parking lots, or anything that looks like The Bates Motel.
What say you, female readers? Do you think you take precautions or make choices that your male counterparts wouldn’t consider/don’t have to consider? Have you ever hesitated to go somewhere solo either out of safety concerns, or because you just don’t like doing things alone?