Rays of Splendour

Behind the scenes of a soon-to-be female solo traveller

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Solo-traveling has been on my mind for a while now. The reasons why I’ve decided to embark on solo traveling are:

  • At this age, I realize that my friends have their own social life and responsibilities and hence having them as a travel companion is not a guaranteed thing
  • I’m curious to discover how it feels like to travel alone: Can I be independent? Would I be able to sleep alone in the hotel room?
  • The perceived freedom solo-traveling would bring – seriously, the idea that the itinerary will unfold according to you alone? How does that pan out?

However as a soon-to-be solo traveler, I find that I face two issues:

  • The question of an appropriate destination to go to
  • Assuring the parents that I will be allright

Both issues are inextricably linked to each other. At present, if the destination is deemed to be ‘dangerous’ by the parents, it will definitely make it more difficult to assure them that I’ll be allright. The parents’ definition of ‘dangerous’ is pretty diverse and can be applied to multifarious situations.

So over the past few months, the choice of destinations have been fluid. The following is the rough order of how the choice of destinations have evolved since March 2013 starting from the initial idea to to the most recent decision – Osaka, Auckland, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City and lastly, Kuala Lumpur. Notice how the distance between Singapore and the target destination shrinks with each change of itinerary? This may or may not be the appropriate reaction but I always burst out laughing whenever there is a change in destinations!

Regardless, I know I can’t blame the parents for being too overly protective of me, their only daughter. I’ll always be their little girl no matter how grown up I am. As a teenager, I’d assumed that the freedom to travel anywhere I please with my own money will come with age and once I started earning my own keep but I’ve yet to taste that even though I’m now a fully grown working adult. Right after I started working fresh out of university back in 2007, it certainly didn’t take me long to grasp the understanding that my prior assumptions were wrong – it’s not the issue of age and money that I needed to overcome.

I’d also wondered whether this phenomena where it’s difficult for parents to let their daughters travel alone is only typical to Muslim/Asian households. Hence, I googled ‘female solo traveling’. Imagine my surprise when my search threw up websites like ‘Adventurous Kate‘ and ‘Around the World “L”!‘ that focus on females who travel solo. Adventurous Kate even did a post on parental disapproval when it comes to females who want to embark on solo journeys abroad. The ensuing comments that resulted from her post hinted at other females in the American society which also face parental disapproval over this. This means that the reservations parents have about their daughters traveling solo aren’t specific to a certain society – they are universal to all parents the world over.

Overall, this has been an interesting few months. Who knew there can be so going on just from the decision to travel solo!

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