Although I can’t say I’m a pro when it comes to traveling solo as a female, I now have traveled solo as a female and thats all this post constitutes. So if you’ll stick with me, you’ll see why its the best thing you can do for yourself and all the advantages that come along with it.
It scared the living hell out of me. As they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Well, this was so far out of my zone that I didn’t even know where to begin. My journey was immeasurably nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing. But with every ounce of nervousness I had, it was twice as much excitement right into the core of my soul. I was so scared, and of what? Being able to find myself, find my passion, find something that I loved so much I didn’t want to lose? Yes. But it was worth every heart-wrenching second and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
It temporarily filled the void of needing to do something “bigger” with my life. Its a new mantra I have: I want to live an extraordinary life. And this trip meant that I was a little closer to reaching that goal. How many 20-year-old girls do you know that can say they traveled across (actually around) the globe all by themselves and then spent two weeks in Africa? Exactly.
I found myself while losing myself. I got lost in the people, the culture, the lifestyle. (And the national park haha.) And I found everything I’ve always wanted in a simple life–hard work, understanding, effort, love. I have honestly changed my mindset in many aspects of my life–social media (working on saying buh-bye!), drinking a water bottle (how blessed am I to even have access to one?), and giving back (if I can, I am). I found someone in myself, Mamoyo, who represents me in a different light, a better light. A freeing light.
I’m kind of a badass woman to society. “How could you do that all by yourself?” “What about rape and sex trafficking?” “You’re all alone?” Basically, as a woman, I shouldn’t be doing anything alone, late at night, or in a certain type of clothing. But I said screw the patriarchy and got the hell out. I am a capable, empowered human being and being female shouldn’t change those standards of travel for me.
I lived for me. Just being able to sit here and write this and say “I did it!”. Its a beautiful thing. I was able to value my time to really figure out what kind of life I want to live and the kind of person I want to be. I reflected a lot during my time there–on my past, on the hard things, on the future. I was happily alone and loved every minute of it. I was independent. Instead of focusing on validation from others, I was living for just me, myself, and I for once! I was free.
I learned to appreciate the little things a lot more. Someone saving me a seat at the dinner table, getting a call from my mom, being able to sit around a bonfire with drinks. Its something I can easily take for granted at home, but in Africa, having running water is a goddamn miracle. Having shoes is considered wealthy. And having electricity is like winning the lottery. I can’t tell you how sad it makes me to look around America and see so much waste, and lack of appreciation.
I made a difference, no matter how small. I did, even if it only lasted a few days (picking up litter on the side of the road) or lasted forever (researching elephants and giraffes in the national park). Between the lions, the community, and the conservation, I impacted a few lives. And maybe I haven’t been able to save anyone yet, but its on my list. I feel good about what I was able to accomplish, with the help of many friends, and will continue to make making a difference a part of my life.
What are other ways you felt empowered when traveling alone?