I recently came across a travel book titled 'What I was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir' by Kristin Newman which mentioned the idea that the solo female traveler is basically our generations version of the crazy cat lady. The author herself was not the architect of this idea, instead, the statement was said to her in humor to mock solo female travelers such as herself. The words struck me as I read them from the screen of my IPhone and I was left thinking only one thing.
"What a bad-ass improvement that is!"
Think about it, the previous image we had of the single woman was the tragic lady, sitting at home in granny panties and a baggy t-shirt, pining over romantic movies while becoming fluent in the feline language.
If this has changed, and the single woman stereotype of today is an empowered jetsetter who spends her time traveling by herself to gaze in wonder at the historic archeology at Machu Picchu or sip from a fresh coconut while experiencing a rose petal bath in Bali, then isn't that awesome?
Personally I love that solo female travel is on the rise. I am inspired when I see more and more women getting out there and showcasing their solo travel adventures, defying that stereotype that we are hopeless little creatures needing a man to hold our hand through life - which is naturally less awesome given the absence of a significant other.
These women show that you can create a life of incredible adventures for yourself instead of waiting for the incredible life to begin once you find someone.
There's a lot of benefits to this too. The obvious benefit is that you get to be a little selfish during your travels and experience what you want, when you want. If you want to stay a little longer at the Eiffel Tower, too easy. If you want to skip the Rock and Roll museum, no problem. You are free to travel on your own time.
Solo travel is also an incredibly liberating experience, giving you a sense of freedom, independence and a confidence that comes from knowing you are capable of achieving things on your own.
These solo adventures are a great way to meet people that you wouldn't otherwise have connected with during a group or couples trip. Instead of interactions being limited to passing greetings, or a quick 'can you take a photo of us?' there is an opening for conversations to take place enhancing the travel experience.
As fulfilling as solo travel is, it is only natural that we want to find a partner. We are designed that way after all and this is where it comes full circle for the solo traveling single lady. When you meet your perfect match you are likely to bring far more to the table in terms of life experience and stories to share than had you been pining away with your fifteen cats - I think it's safe to say that nobody is really interested in seeing more pictures of Mr Whiskers.
Will some men be intimidated by your independent, go-getter nature? Of course. But they're not the type you would want to be with anyway.
You are more likely to meet that special someone while out and about experiencing some of the wonderful travel experiences on offer and you'll be so much more content with your own badass life that you wont cling to them in desperation. Bonus points, you'll probably have more in common and overall a more pleasant interaction with this person compared with those painful blind dates or tinder mis-matches.
If the crazy cat lady has evolved into the solo female traveler, then I'd say this progression has done women more than a few favors.