Traveling solo seemed to be such a terrifying idea, to most people especially females. The world is filled with all kinds of dangers as we hear them from the media everyday! Yes, there are dangers all around us, especially for a female traveler. But there are a whole lot of kindness and friendliness in this world to outweigh the danger, in my opinion and based on my experiences at least.
During my solo travel, I have had a lady gave me a ride from a campsite in the morning to a trail head and offered to picked me up in the afternoon after her work (in Australia); I have met a kind and concerned bus driver who asked passengers on the bus to help me out with directions (in New Zealand); I have had people to stop and ask whether I needed help when I looked disoriented; a total stranger put a blanket on me while I fell asleep on the chair in Chicago Airport when my flight was canceled! The list goes on and on.
Here is how I reckon, besides there is more goodness than bad in the world, it is safer in the remote area (where I love to be) than in the large cities (which I rarely go to) in regarding to human harms. Most criminals wouldn’t rationally drive a long distance and stay there for days to try to wait for their “preys”. A city full of potential victims is probably much easier and “profitable” for them.
Of course, there are always exceptions. “Wolf Creek”, a movie recommended by our tour guide in Australia, showed several stranded backpackers in remote Australia fall prey to a murderous bushman who offers to fix their car, then takes them captive! The tour guide took us to a spot where the scene of a bloody girl crawling on the ground was filmed. Even without watching the movie as most people did in our tour, I had a nightmare that night as I slept alone in an upgrade single room, in a separate motel (while other in a hostel), in an almost deserted tiny little town, with a terrifying thunderstorm in the evening!
Honestly speaking, though, I am more worried about animals than human harms. There are plenty of dangerous animals out in the wildness where I love to be! In the mountain forest of UT, I have seen a Bob Cat (or Mountain Lion, not sure which one it was) no more than thirty yards away. I turned instantaneously, ran as fast as I could but as light as possible, picked up a stick along the way while knowing clearly this piece of “weapon” wouldn’t do me any good if the animal decided to have a bite of me. I have seen bears a number of times, luckily within the safe distance of my car or while there were other people around. I have almost stepped on a snake which I am so afraid of, several times! Again, the list goes on and on. But my love for nature and my passion for travel prevail over my fear and discomfort. And now, finally, I am “armed” with a bottle of bear spray! 🙂
A female traveler I met in Idaho happened to be a biologist as well. She studied wolf and she told me, to my surprise, that wolves are not as dangerous as people think. She traced them and researched their behavior in the wilderness, all by herself! I was so impressed by her. Although I was out there all by myself as well, I certainly would turn immediately if I spot any dangerous animal, even in the distance. I love taking pictures, but I know better that my life is more valuable than a few photos. 🙂 I wouldn’t take my chance, even though most animals are harmless when they are not so hungry or they are not disturbed. But animals are animals. I will try to avoid them, as much as possible. After all, I don’t want to test whether they are hungry that day or whether they are in a good mood. 🙂
Look, I am not denying that there are dangers out there. In a perfect world, it would be wonderful to have someone I love sitting right by my side, sharing the journey, the fun, the stories and the beauty of nature with me. Well, as we all know, the world is not perfect and the next “perfect” thing for me to do, rather than waiting for someone to show up in my life to share everything, is to start doing it on my own! I firmly believe that the goodness of the world outweighs the risk and I am willing to take the chance.
Life is a “gamble” in a way. The safest way is probably to stay at home, but then, I wouldn’t do the things I love to do and enjoy the life I truly want to experience. Then, what is the meaning of life if one can’t do what she loves to do, even if it is so safe and she could live a long life? So, I am placing my bet, with positive attitude and sound preparation, on goodness of the world and on enjoying life the fullest I can.
PS. my photo website: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/qing-yang.html