women travel alone in latin america

Should women travel alone in Latin America? Remembering the 2 Argentine girls who were murdered in Ecuador

The photo above was taken in Baños, Ecuador – some 400km away from where two Argentine girls were murdered. Marina Menegazzo (21 years old) and Maria Jose Coni (22 years old) bid their family and friends goodbye on January 2017 for a 45-day travel in their region. On to their second month of traveling, they went missing.

We, once again, woke up to the horrific truth about the reality of what solo female travelers are facing all over the world. I traveled South America for over 3 years and luckily never had a bad experience but then I thought, Marina and Maria Jose were in the same places that I was. What if it was me? What if it was a girl friend of mine? What if it was my sister?

News of their tragic death spread all over the world. It even shattered dreams of women who had already planned their Latin American sojourn. The region that I love so much (South America is probably my favourite) was avoided by many women travelers for the past year because of what happened to Marina and Maria Jose.

Of course, netizens will never be out of the picture. In the middle of the mourning their families and friends in Argentina, people from all over the world cared to do victim-blaming.

Photo Credit: El Telegrafo

“Why did they go out with strangers? Moreover, why were they traveling Latin America without male companions? Women shouldn’t travel alone in Latin America!”

The remarks and criticism affected a lot of women travelers all over the world, including me. We turned to each other and said, “Wait… they are wrong. Of course, we can travel alone!”

We can even travel in groups, with our girl friends, with our sisters. Yes, we can!

Since I was 20, I’ve been traveling the world by myself. I got to the Latin America lands when I was 23 and I never felt that I needed to travel with a ‘male companion.’ I did it myself (and still doing it) and I feel like there is no reason for us to be belittled or criticised just because we want to see the world. Women are free to travel by themselves, with their sisters, with their girl friends without the thinking of the threat of being harmed. By doing so, I knew that the decision to travel by myself changed my life and that, in the long run, have enriched and helped in honing the person I am now.

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Alone Together

Amidst the outcry and the mourning, Karen, Victoria and Emma, three girls from Latin America decided to put up Women Travel Latin America (WTLA), a website/blog inspiring women to travel Latin America, discover its wonders and hidden secrets, and perhaps discover some hidden truths about ourselves and our place in the world along the way. This is a website is made to help women through the uncertain moments and to rejoice in their discoveries.

In honour of Marina and Maria Jose, WTLA decided to publish a book that will feature stories about traveling Latin America alone. The Editors of WTLA knew they can’t do it alone so they are now calling for entries and stories to be included in the book.

This is the best channel to share your stories: your unexpected triumphs, your moments of laughter or tears, the risks you took, the people you met, and the invisible barriers you broke along the way. Every single one of us has a story worth publishing and by submitting your entries, you will not just help and support Marina and Maria Jose but also all the girls from all over the world.

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How to get your story included in Alone Together Anthology

[us_iconbox icon=”fa-pencil” iconpos=”left” size=”24px” title=”Theme/topic” title_tag=”h5″]Should women travel alone in Latin America?[/us_iconbox]
[us_iconbox icon=”fa-file-word-o” iconpos=”left” size=”24px” title=”Word Count” title_tag=”h5″]5,000 words[/us_iconbox]
[us_iconbox icon=”fa-calendar” iconpos=”left” size=”24px” title=”Deadline of entries” title_tag=”h5″]June 26, 2017[/us_iconbox]
[us_iconbox icon=”fa-language” iconpos=”left” size=”24px” title=”Submission language” title_tag=”h5″]English[/us_iconbox]

Selected winning entries will be included in the 2017 Alone Together anthology published by the Bogota International Press.

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If we stand together as women who travel alone in Latin America, not only that we will break barriers but also educate people from all over the world that we, women can travel alone without the fear of being harmed. Submit your story today and let your voice be heard.

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Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • May 13, 2017

    I received their invite too, and will def submit something.

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  • Becca Wild
    May 14, 2017

    Thanks for this cool project you’re doing, but why are the two girls referred to as ‘solo travelers’ if there were two of them? How many women would have to be in the group before they would not be considered ‘alone’ anymore? Is it not until there is at least one man in the group that a woman is not labeled ‘alone’? Thanks for listening. xo, a traveler of Latin America.

    reply
  • May 14, 2017

    Bad things can happen at home too. I don’t let things like that prevent me from traveling.

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  • May 14, 2017

    I can’t wait to hear what your readers have to say. There is a power in first person reporting that dispels myths and ignorance. Right now, more than ever solo women are traveling the globe. and bringing back stories to tell.

    reply
  • Chrysoula
    May 14, 2017

    I think that bad things can happen everywhere you just must be sensible when you travel no matter where it is, South America, Europe or wherever,

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  • May 15, 2017

    I am from Brazil, I have traveled alone in many countries in South America, before I got married. We still traveling, and sometimes I travel by myself to visit my family. In Latin culture is not normal seeing women traveling by themselves. But I am glad that things are changing, a lot of Latin people, and Latin women are starting traveling. There are bad places all over the world, just don’t put your life in dangerous situations, and you will be fine. You don’t see bad things happening to travelers everyday in South America, the media is too dramatic. There are many ways to keep yourself safe, learn and research before visiting certain places around the world.

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  • May 16, 2017

    This is a very sad story and I think this project is great. Unfortunately I will not be able to submit any piece as it’s focussed on South America, and I haven’t been there yet, sorry.

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  • May 16, 2017

    This is so heartbreaking. I feel so terrible for the families and friends of these beautiful young women. Good luck with your project to enlighten minds and hearts about women pursuing their dreams and passions.

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  • May 16, 2017

    I’ve had some of my favorite travel experiences in Latin America and have never once felt unsafe myself. I’ll have to check out Women Travelling Alone Together.

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  • May 17, 2017

    Such a sad story about the two girls, but it’s also sad to hear how many people respond with negativity about women traveling alone. Love the idea of WTLA–it’s so nice to have a community to connect with. We were just in Ecuador this past month and had such a wonderful time! Glad to hear there are so many out there supporting and inspiring others to keep traveling!

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  • May 18, 2017

    Latin America is unfortunately home to a number of countries with the highest murder and violent crime rates. Though bad things can happen anywhere, so many of these victims do put themselves in situations where they face a higher chance of becoming victims because they were drinking and making bad decisions like going off with strange men.

    Women do face different challenges, particularly when it comes to safety, when traveling solo than men do when traveling solo. But women need to use common sense and take precautions to protect themselves.

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  • May 21, 2017

    I’m a big fan women with big sense of adventure. There’s always risk. We just need to be extra careful always.

    reply
  • May 25, 2017

    Nice travel experiences . love the post .

    reply

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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.