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Her: Are you going out later?
Me: I may go grab a drink. I saw this bar up the street that looked cool, so I keep telling myself I’m going to go before I leave.
Her: But aren’t you afraid to go to bars alone? To travel alone?…
That was a conversation between my hostel-mate and I a couple days ago. I left London yesterday but that conversation keeps replaying in my head because I wanted to tell her she had nothing to fear. Why should anyone be afraid to go anywhere alone? I think I gave her some generic answer about being used to it though.
A few weeks ago I was a guest on the weekly conference call hosted by the ladies of The New Girl Talk. They questioned my solo travels and wondered if I was afraid as well. I told them that I think that fear is an American thing more than anything. I hear about children and adults all over the world who travel alone to visit relatives in far off countries, or take gap years after high school to see the world. Sure, they sometimes have a friend to tag along, but that isn’t always the case. Even my German hostel-mate who asked this very question was in fact alone in London at the time. I believe she was there for a school program but decided to stay an additional week, by her lonesome.
To answer her question, no, I’m not afraid. Fear could never control me, I’m way too headstrong to let it, lol. I used to be uncomfortable with the idea (especially having to eat in restaurants alone) but once I realized nobody was going to be down for my explorations but me, I had to get over it. Even before I had the courage to book a solo trip people would say things like I’d get kidnapped and chopped up -_-. It’s no different than my day to day life in New York, or DC, or Pittsburgh when I was there for school. I don’t see my friends everyday, nor do I talk to them daily. I go to work and come home by myself. I go grab a bite to eat by myself. I explore neighborhoods by myself. I always say my (now old) block in Brooklyn is probably more dangerous than some entire countries. I wasn’t scared then, why would I be scared now? I guess my question to you is, what’s the difference?