I originally wrote this in honor of International Women’s Day, but really, this is for any day of the year, any year, and definitely for all women of any age. When I wrote this on my Facebook photography page, it was March 8, “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” I may not have accomplished as much as other women (I’m pretty certain I’ll never climb Mt. Everest or photograph a mother whale and her calf beneath the ocean’s surface), yet I feel I’ve achieved quite a bit in my almost-62 years of life. At least, in certain areas. And the photos you see here prove it. This post here, is just for the ladies, as a matter of fact. No, I’m not eschewing the men in your lives, but on this particular day, here’s to the ladies. And ladies – here’s a little bit of advice: travel solo on occasion.
Ladies, travel ignites the sparks of learning, imagination, and creativity. Solo travel does that in addition to highlighting strengths, accomplishments, and maybe even pointing out areas needing improvement. Yes, there is always risk with solo travel. In truth, there’s risk with just about everything in life, from job to relationships to planning your future. The main thing is that at least once in your life, you should strike out on a brand new adventure all by yourself.
Take me, for instance. Yeah, it’s all about me (snort), but hey, it’s my photography page and they say to always write about what you know.
To get all these images you’ve seen here, I can thank the internet. I can also thank trains, planes, and automobiles. I travel with my cameras to units of the National Park System all over the U.S. and even into Canada. Solo. And I love it. As a matter of fact, I think solo travel for women is empowering. I’ve traveled solo pretty much all my life, excluding a few group photo workshops here and there. I prefer solo travel because it allows me to do what I want, when I want, where I want, how I want. I can stop at a view area photographing for as long as I like, breathing in the beauty of the landscape or watching in awe a herd of bison navigate across a valley. I can eat whatever I want, stay where ever I want (well, where ever I can afford), and pack whatever I want (now that I drive instead of fly). I don’t have to worry about a bored traveling partner who wants to stop sooner than I like, who wants to do something other than what I want to do, who doesn’t want to eat where I want to eat – you get the gist. No, I’m not dissing group travel, which can be a rich experience in and of itself. I’ve had grand times with group photo tours. I’m simply telling you that the energizing experience of traveling includes solo travel. It’s good to strike off on your own, now and then, and do something for yourself. Do what you want to do.
Sure, solo travel can be a bit daunting, particularly for women. It doesn’t matter if you’ve traveled by yourself for years or if you are just starting out. Traveling by oneself means paying closer attention to safety and security. You need to check those rental car tires yourself. Get good locks for your luggage. Carry important items such as wallets or passports in a jacket or vest pocket on your body. Carry bear spray. Carry a whistle. Make noise when hiking. Yes, they say you should never hike alone, but when I’m traveling, I’m not going to stand around waiting to tag along with strangers who might not want a third wheel. As a solo traveler, I’m responsible for my own safety, and I have no problems changing my hiking itinerary if warranted.
As I grow older, I find myself slowing down a little more, taking more breaks along the trail, gauging my level of fitness when tackling a slightly more strenuous trail. But as long as I can continue traveling solo, with camera in hand, I’m going to do just that.
FYI – these images of myself were captured with the camera on a tripod and me holding either a wireless remote or using the camera’s 10-second self-timer.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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