Born and raised in a Bangladeshi house, I was taught by people around me that there are places where a woman must not go alone and times when she must not even dare to come out of her house on her own. These archaic ideas linger inside most of us and no matter how educated or successful a woman becomes, her independence is limited to her financial and social freedom. But she must not be out of her mind if she is traveling alone, according to the elders of our society. So over Facebook, when I got in touch with some women who are traveling the world solo and living their lives, I could not help but be amazed. At that point, I realized that everyone especially women should go out and see the world by herself - not led by a husband or accompanied by other family members or even with people from her friends’ circle. Traveling really broadens one’s mind and traveling solo is a great way to practice self-love. Here are the amazing stories of a few such women who dared to be different:
Sabira, The Wander Woman
Sabira Mehrin, the founder of female travel group Wander Woman, gave plenty of women wings to fly with her group! She shared, “Wander Woman is the brainchild of mine that I am truly passionate about. It is a social platform that exclusively pampers the female travel enthusiasts of Bangladesh. Wander Woman provides travel information, connects with travel partners and organizes travel experiences for female travelers. Now it is a network of 20,000 female travelers.” Her first solo trip was to Kenya in July 2015. “I was selected as special delegate for Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015, co-hosted by Barack Obama. Plus, I was the finalist for GIST Tech-I Competition 2015. So my first solo trip was a fully-funded experience in Nairobi, Kenya where I got to meet some of the finest entrepreneurs from the world.” This inspiring adventuress urges every woman to be strong and to think outside the box. “Initially my family wasn’t ready to send me to Africa continent all alone given there was an outbreak of Ebola and riot in Nairobi. But later it was alright. I still remember how scared I was to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel as I couldn’t find my shuttle. But eventually, I gained confidence seeing how friendly the driver was. Later he showed me Nairobi. It is still cherished as one of the best trips in my life.” Sabira says courage and confidence are two important factors for traveling solo. “It is important to be careful while choosing destinations for the solo travelers. Usually solo trips cost more than group tours, so the budget must be prepared accordingly. Girls should never forget to keep track of emergency contacts for the places she is travelling to. Safety comes first. Keeping guards up throughout the journey is crucial to ensure safe and comfortable solo tour.”
Nourin’s Awesome Trip To Thailand
Nourin Haque Ridi was inspired to take a solo trip to Thailand after watching the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ where the protagonist left everything behind to hop on a quest of self-discovery that takes her to Italy, India and then Bali. “I have always dreamt of going on a solo tour since then to Thailand, the land of smiles. At that time I was in college. However, I was looking for the opportunity to afford the trip by myself (for the strength and maturity as well). I felt ready after coming from a tour in Sikkim with friends on June this year. I immediately decided to go to Thailand. After a month of planning and preparation, I started my journey on 9 August 2019 that came to an end on 18 August.” It was not like she was not scared but Ridi learned to overcome her fears. “I had a bit of aqua-phobia, yet I went down from the boat to snorkel in Koh Hong Island. Prior to that, I had been taking swimming classes for two months during weekends, so that I could snorkel there. But, after I was completely under water, the fear struck me. I kept holding tight onto the ladder of the boat. But a Thai girl came closer to me, held my hands and then pacified me. All you have to do is kick in the water quite like cycling.” The Thai girl’s words gave me hope and strength. Trust me, I snorkeled. In fact, I snorkeled a lot. Even the boat-man was having trouble getting me out of the water. The generosity of people from different places, ages, stages, colors and religions amazed me.” Ridi continued, “Like that movie, the trip became my quest to self-discovery. Since my university life, my confidence was dying slowly day by day. I stopped doing a lot of things that I wanted to do because I thought I could not do those. But this trip helped me gain my confidence back. I was going to most of the places by walking alone. I was discovering hidden gems in the areas where travelers don’t usually venture to. I know now, if a situation doesn’t go my way, it’s okay. I’ll be okay. This sort of belief is needed in all of our lives.” In Bangkok, Ridi stayed in a hotel on the first night. But from the second day she stayed in different hostels. “Hostels are the best place for meeting people. Each hostel was different from another and so was the experience. Pak-Up Hostel in Krabi town was the best for me. It was clean. The people there were really nice and helpful. You can have a complete guidance of what to do and where to go from the operators of the hostel. Moreover you will get the opportunity to make friends without knowing their name, but the experience and impression will stay with you always.” Ridi was completely amazed by the sights and sounds of the city. People who had never traveled are oblivious of the experiences like these.
Alina, The Girl Who Is Breaking Taboos
A 30-year-old woman has completed traveling 30 countries (all by herself) this year. Hailing from Pakistan, this is a rare success. Alina, the 30-year-old adventuress, encourages everyone to travel. “Traveling has always given me the strength to overcome any obstacle. It has become sort of my escape from reality. Sometimes I find more peace in being lost in the streets of a foreign country than to know my way home.” Does she think it challenging to travel alone? In fact, it is the opposite. “It’s really empowering to travel alone. It’s a reminder that at the end of the day all you have is yourself and that’s really all you need to be happy and content in life. Step out of your comfort zone, that’s the only way you’ll find yourself and your creator”, she urges everyone.