Travelling is my passion. I have been through over 20 different countries - I lost count after my fourth trip to Europe. As long as the number exceeds my age, I'm satisfied.

I'm an avid backpacker. I don't just want to see the world. I want to experience it.

I travel in a unique way. I have climbed the Great Wall of China in snow, worked on a farm in Normandy, France, and volunteered at an orphanage in Bali, Indonesia.

Backpackers are constantly sharing information, stories, and advice. I'm not doing this because I make money off of it (which I don't) or because I think I know it all (which I definitely don't).

I am simply doing this because it's what I love to do. Enjoy!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Safe Way to Travel Solo

In the shadow of the tragedy that took place in Istanbul last week, there has been a lot of discrepancy and a sudden onset of fear and hesitancy in regards to females traveling alone.

I see the attempted resolve of this issue (ie. saying females should not travel alone) in the same way I see the United States blaming gun control for the Connecticut murders: absurd and inaccurate.

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

Travel doesn't kill women.  People do.

It doesn’t matter where you go—you could wrap yourself in bubble wrap and lock yourself in your bedroom closet—in today’s world, you face risk simply by breathing. What you need to decide is what is worth the risk.

Traveling alone is safe—when you travel smart. Man or woman, young or old, here are three simple rules I have learned to keep myself safe while traveling.
1) Dress for the attention you want.
I have been particularly guilty of this on nights out. In any new city, you are out of your element. Different cultures regard certain styles of dress—even eye contact—as an invitation for unwanted attention. When in doubt, cover up and wear a smile. Looking cool and confident can dissuade potiential danger. Although you may be excited to represent your home country, wearing a large flag across your shoulders can be the same as placing a target on your back in certain situations. Whenever you dress, think.
2) Let someone you trust know where you are and where you’re going.
This may sound juvenile, but it is extremely important. Whenever I plan on staying in a country for longer than a week, I purchase a pay-as-you-go phone. It’s a cheap way to stay in contact when I don’t have access to wifi or find myself in a sketchy situation. If I ever feel uncomfortable, I text my immediate location to a friend or relative.
I also purchased an electronic rape whistle—a small keychain to hang off your purse, you simply pull the dangling end of a pin to commence a ten-minute female scream. You can shut off the piercing scream by replacing the pin. This emergency device is available at most outdoor stores for around CAD$20.
3) Exercise street smarts and common sense.
The more you travel, the better you become at reading people. Whenever you go out, stay in public places.  Personally, I won't go out at night alone.  If you go out and get plastered, you are making yourself more vunerable.  Remeber: You are the only one looking out for yourself. You can't just call your dad to come pick you up when something goes wrong. (I learned this the hard way - I sincerely hope you don't have to.)
If you hear about an offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t simply google the hostels, volunteer opportunities, and workplaces you intend to go to - travel blogging is huge nowadays. Find someone else who has already done what you want to do and read about their experience.


Life is not life without risk. When you travel, you may find yourself in unpleasant and even terrifying situations. But that’s the risk you take traveling alone. All you have to decide is whether or not the consequences are worth the risk.

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