…Now you understandJust why my head’s not bowed.I don’t shout or jump aboutOr have to talk real loud.When you see me passing,It ought to make you proud.I say,It’s in the click of my heels,The bend of my hair,the palm of my hand,The need for my care.’Cause I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.~Excerpt from the poem Phenomenal Woman by Dr. Maya Angelou~
Early female adventurers undertook intrepid journeys at a time when independent women were a stigmatized anomaly. Now, guidebooks have sections dedicated to travel tips specifically for women and it is commonplace to see independent female travellers traverse the world.
6 Inspiring Historic Female Travellers from Go Girl Travel
5 experiences unique to women travelers
- Buying personal hygiene products can be a challenge. They almost seem like a luxury in some places and are not always easy to find.
- Sometimes people take pity on you and invite you to dinner and/or take care of you.
- There is restricted access to some religious sites e.g. The Church of St. Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia; menstruating women are not allowed in Balinese temples.
- There is much attention paid to and suspicion of female travellers. Always dress and behave to suit the environment. When in Rome…
- Many, both men and women, have a keen interest in your marital status.
…and speaking of marital status…
Top 10 answers independent women travellers can give when harassed with the question “why do you travel alone?”
- Yes I am married/partnered but they are unavailable for travel. Have a nice ring to enhance the lie, if it is a lie.
- My husband/boyfriend is a police officer/just got out of prison/is a nunchuck champion, etc and can’t join me because of his work.
- The lesbian excuse is a classic standby.
- I’m widowed, let me mourn in peace.
- I work for the government as a spy/double agent-if I tell you why I travel alone I will have to kill you.
- Just doing my job as journalist, travel writer, etc.
- I’m following in Margaret Mead’s footsteps and doing anthropological research.
- I’m in exile/on the lam for some heinous crime.
- I’m a nun going where the Lord sends me.
- I’m a student doing volunteer work overseas.