I realized something today–and what I realized was, every guy who’s broken my heart or who has fucked me over in general, were never right for me, not because of the outcome–but because none of them could match me. You see, it’s not really about finding someone who makes your heart flutter and your lips curve into a smile–it’s more than that. You know in life, a girls gotta build her own empire. She’s gotta learn to love herself, be her best self, and be strong for herself, regardless of who is by her side. Maybe I haven’t completely done that for myself yet, but the day I do, I will never let someone stand taller than me. I will stand as tall as the skies will let me, alone, or with the one who can match me. Because no one should be towered over–no one should be overlooked. And that is something I will not allow anymore. When I meet the one, I’ll know it, because he will match me. And that is a power couple, right there; I want to be with someone who empowers me, and allows me to remain my best self that I have built myself.
I’ve had a couple of people ask me about being a chica travelling alone, so I thought I’d write a quick article on my take on it….
I’ve travelled to Central & South America, Australia, New Zealand and various places in Europe on my own. So far (touch wood) I haven’t had any serious problems at all - although I do think that the fact I have dark brown hair, brown eyes and olive skin has helped me here. My very blonde haired/blue eyed friend who I went to Asia with got way more hassle then I have ever had! I’ve heard some people say that if you wear a wedding ring you get less hassle, personally I’ve never tried it and think it’s a bit ridiculous, unless that ring happens to have a burly 7ft bouncer attached to it. Perhaps dying your hair brown would be more effective…
For ladies, it is the same things that will bring unwanted attention at home that will give you the same unwanted attention abroad - low cut tops, short skirts, a face full of make up, high heels, fancy nails/clothing/hairstyle…. Now, I am the first person to put up my hand and admit that I bloody love getting dolled up, covering my face in slap, slipping into a new dress and high heels and hitting the town…. hard. However, there is a time and place for it, and traipsing around foreign markets or the streets of the back of beyond are not it. Accept that if you’re travelling you’re going to be a tad grubby, everyone else is in the same boat. If you want access to hair straighteners, a proper mirror, full size towels and chocolates on your pillow… go on a package holiday. Also, heels, hair tongs, bottles of slap and cans of hairspray are heavy and take up precious space.
Essential beauty gear: Moisturiser, a good but travel sized hairbrush, mini shampoo/conditioner (use shampoo as body wash, and to wash your clothes), face wipes, one good quality razor (I find that men’s ones work a lot better for a lot longer), mini nail file, eyeliner & mascara (both waterproof, obviously), blush, mini toothbrush & paste, and deodorant. That’s it. Depending on what area of the world you’re travelling to, other items may include: Mosquito spray and lip balm. And depending on your own personal needs: Contact lens drops and sunscreen. The little sachets that you get free in magazines can be very handy. Why bother with heat protection spray? Your hair is probably going to get annihilated by the sun anyway. Why take nail varnish? It will be chipped the moment you do anything, and then there’s the added weight of nail varnish remover… Foundation? It won’t match your skin once you’ve caught the sun. I also fail to understand why anyone would carry around shaving cream, any bodywash does the job fine. Similar to cotton buds - hello tissue? And as for liquid sanitizer don’t even get me started. One word: Paranoid.
It’s surprising the amount of things you can buy abroad, even in the most remote areas you will always be able to get hold of something… it pays not to be fussy about brands. I never travel with a laptop - internet cafes are so commonplace. Taking a phone is a personal choice, and it depends how long you’re away for. I tend not to as it’s just something else to carry and worry about losing, but if you must I would recommend a cheap standard phone that won’t be heartbreaking if you lost it. Kindles are another luxury item - I’ve yet to stay in a hostel that doesn’t have a book exchange, and again, it’s something else that thieves will target and you will worry about. Camera is my one luxury item I can’t live without, but what I always, always do it backup my photo’s onto either CD or a storage website. If I lost my camera I would be devastated, but it is replaceable. Photo’s aren’t.
Bizarrely, despite all the myths that circulate around travelling to ‘third world’ countries, the most hassle I’ve ever had has always been in Europe, with Africa a close second. The majority of these problems were just when walking through markets or busy tourist spots and being 'grabbed’ by men trying to sell their wares. The only way to deal with this is to be very determined and even push or shove your way out. Warning: If you show even the smallest amount of interest, you will be besieged by other traders trying to give you a better deal. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy from these guys, some of the things they sell are lovely, but just be prepared! In any country, if you go to a beach, you must expect to have beach traders asking you 1 million times if you’d like a bracelet/massage/watermelon cut into the shape of a dolphin… My advice? Ignorance is bliss, I started off with a polite 'no thankyou’ but after saying this about 83 times and not being able to relax I stuck to silence.
I also take great care in keeping a firm hold on my bags/camera etc. If you walk through a bustling hotspot with a flimsy bag swinging loosely at your side or money in your back pocket, you are probably asking for trouble, but these things are just common sense. Other tips that are mostly just common sense are to avoid wearing extreme or expensive jewellery/clothing, stay away from known 'dodgy’ areas, spread your money out (ie. don’t put all your eggs in one basket) and don’t get hammered drunk with any valuables on your person… you get the idea…
One of my favourite tricks is the good old disposable camera. If you are going somewhere that is a bit risky but you just can’t resist going there, only take the money you need, and a disposable camera - nobody is going to want to steal that.
Overall, you are relatively safe, if you do your research, use your head and keep an open mind. Talk to other travellers, get their opinions and you will easily find others to travel onwards with so you won’t always be alone. In some ways travelling solo is the best way, as you get to choose the itinerary, route, price limits and time schedules. The internet is a wealth of information, and you can find rating sites like trip advisor for nearly everything so you know what places are a must see and which places to avoid. It is also so easy to find internet cafes and keep in touch with friends and home and people you meet, including that hot surfer dude….
Enjoy. Relax. Have fun, Kim x
“He who would travel happily must travel light” - Antoine de St. Exupery