Dear girls of the world: Just go and chase your dreams
Dear girls of the world,
Let me introduce myself. I’m Zofia, I come from Warsaw and I currently live in Armenia (and I don’t count how many times in last 6 months I was asked where the heck is it and what am I doing there). It’s in the South Caucasus and I’m NGO worker, freelance translator, poet and blogger. Ah, wait, and I love traveling. I travel solo a lot and I’m always happy to write about it. There is a whole wave of blog post encouraging girls to travel on their own. Never too many though.
You don’t have to travel solo. It’s not a duty. You can go with your boyfriend, your parent, your siblings, your childhood friend and your dog. You can do it whichever way that is your way. The thing I never come to understand is that if you travel with a friend or in a group, no one is going to question it. No one would find it weird.
Girls who prefer to go solo, always have to answer 1,638,392 stupid questions and accept 1,673,922 silly pieces of advice from everyone around but experienced travellers. This reaction makes some of us skeptic about our own dreams. That’s why the solo female travellers are the group in need of a special encouragement therapy.
If something is scaring and amazing at the same time, you definitely should pursue it. If you dream about heading out to see the world on your own, do it. 2014 has just started.
Isn’t it a perfect moment for changes and chasing after your dreams?
I’ve been traveling solo in Europe since I was a teenager. During my university years, it became my favorite and most frequent way of traveling. On my own. When I hit the road for the very first time the fact that I’m doing something unusual, original or courageous didn’t even cross my mind. Born and raised in Central Europe, where freedom is a very important societal value, I thought that this is just the way to do it. Well, after a couple of trips in safe and familiar Europe and uncountable amount of stares I realized most of the society wouldn’t agree.
These societies are wrong. You are right. It is a way to do it if you feel like. If you are dreaming about something, if you really want it, the stares cannot discourage you. The words cannot discourage you. The fears cannot discourage you. And you only have yourself to encourage you.
If you never travelled solo before, don’t go for a city break to Tehran first. Start from something easier. You will get to Tehran eventually. I hope I will travel there next year. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
|Zof in Hoorn, The Netherlands. Always with her camera.|
Plan. Research. Be prepared.
Before you go, you will hear thousand times that traveling solo as a girl is not safe. It is safe. The world on the other side of the border isn’t more dangerous than what you know from your own background. Never forget common sense and you will be all fine. Don’t wear miniskirts in Morocco. Trust your guts while talking to strangers. Pack warm clothes when traveling to Siberia. Learn couple of sentences in the local language. Basics, right? That’s all you need. Trust me. That’s all I needed to travel to Armenia, a tiny landlocked country in South Cacausus with a ridiculously bad economical situation, massive emigration, famous brandy and the extremely tasty pomegranates. That’s all I needed to move to this country when I came to love it so much that I was missing it badly each and every single day after I left. I boarded a plane with an one-way ticket in July and I’ve never been happier. So far, so good.
Be open to the opportunities coming your way. If you go abroad to volunteer and someone offers you a job, consider it twice before you refuse. I accepted and never regretted it. Don’t be too skeptic about the friendships you make on the road. I met some of my best friends abroad. The distance doesn’t matter if you see the world the same way. If you meet people while volunteering helping the restoration on the Gothic castle in the middle of nowhere in Czech Republic, there is a huge chance they see the world the same way as you do – as a journey, as a book, as an adventure, you name it.
Don’t think about youself as the vulnerable one.
Being a girl doesn’t mean you can go for less. We are all human beings and we are of capable of anything human you can think about. Traveling isn’t different from doing sports, playing an instrument or learning a new language. Everyone can get there but the path is different for every single person who tries. If you feel going solo is a right path for you, just go. What you feel is always true.
See you somewhere, someday.
Love from Armenia,