Violet Summer Zine Issue 3 - Page 19

confused or afraid, people will pick up on that and take advantage of it. So even if you are lost, don’t pull out your map or guidebook in the middle of the street and start looking around aimlessly. Just keep walking like you look like you know where you’re going until you can find a discreet spot in which to pull yourself together again. Next, I always try to blend in, which often means dressing down. If you’re standing around with a fabulous turban, some printed palazzo pants, and chunky costume jew- elry, you may get snapped by the local street press, but you’re way more likely to be a target for thieves or sleazy guys. So while you’re on the road, I’d suggest checking out the local women and trying your best to mimic both the way they dress and their behavior. Cover up in countries where it’s expected, and always veer towards conser- vative, just to be on the safe side. Thirdly, I always get to my destination before nightfall. Knowing where you’re going, and getting settled in so you’re not stumbling around in the dark with all your valuables strapped to your back, is one of the best ways to avoid ending up in scam city. Finally, I always trust my instincts. Women’s intuition is a real thing. So, when you get that feeling in the pit of your belly that it’s unsafe somewhere, or just that something isn’t right, don’t ignore it. Don’t walk down that dark street. Don’t get into that car. Don’t stay in that hotel. If your gut is telling you not to do it, there’s a reason. Always. Once you’ve made sure you’re doing it right and not getting scammed left right and center, solo travel can be liberating, rewarding and totally empowering. Not only do you get to do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it (you don’t have to indulge someone else’s love of sitting by the pool while you’re desperate to go off exploring, for example), so you can make it the trip of your dreams, not somebody else’s. You can also get more engaged with the world around you when you’re on your own. When we travel with other people, we often have our blinkers on. We’re so busy chatting with our travel buddy, commentating everything we’re seeing and do- ing, that we ultimately miss out on seeing and experiencing so much. Not to mention that often strangers won’t feel as comfortable approaching a group of people as they will a single person, which means we don’t get to meet as many people, either. As British travel writer Jonathan Raban says, “You’ve got to go kind of naked into the world and make yourself vulnerable to it [when you travel], in a way that you’re never going to be sufficiently sensitive if you’re traveling with your nearest and dear- est on your arm.”By eating in restaurants by myself, traveling in buses solo or simply wandering around alone, I’ve overheard snippets of conversation, seen incredible sights, or met amazing people I would never have, had I been with someone else. Do I get lonely? Well yeah, sometimes. Eating alone is always a challenge, for ex