Over protective parents and rigid cultural teachings have held Muslim women from travelling the world and embarking on journeys to explore the world. Thankfully, this has changed and it could be seen with the increasing numbers of travelling Muslim women. You can see some examples on the Muslimahs Who Travel Instagram Account. A good number of them is doing it solo. I am just happy to see people going out of their comfort zones and embarking on different adventures. However, I think every Muslim woman should try travelling solo at least once. It does not have to be an epic trip of backpacking around Asia on foot. Anything would do! Even a weekend getaway in the same country counts Here are:
Eight reasons every Muslim woman try travelling solo at least once
ps. If you are a female from other faiths you will benefit from this post too!
1- It will give you courage
Travelling alone doesn't always come naturally and there is so much fear involved, but after you do it, you will feel more courage and pride. You will feel proud of yourself for being able to do that.
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” ― Coco Chanel
Most of my friends are independent Muslim women that are working important jobs to support themselves and to impact their societies. Travel Independency is slightly different though. When you are travelling on your own, you are depending on yourself to plan the trip, to find your way in unknown streets and to enjoy yourself. After moving across the world to live in the US and then the UK, I have learnt to be truly independent in every way. When my dad visited me in London, he was so impressed in my ability to find my way around the transports system and keep him well fed and entertained.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
3- Escape to recharge
Alone time away will give you the needed escape to recharge and be ready to face life difficulties. I would encourage you to mute your social media on such escapes. Social interactions, going out and being around people is wonderful, but could be very emotionally exhausting and recharging is a must. Escaping from the day to day life to spend time just with yourself is needed.
“Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.” ― Anaïs Nin, Incest: From a Journal of Love
4- Educating Others
Travelling as a Muslim female, always peaks the interest of the locals and other travellers. I know this might be a weird reason, but enlightening others come from our will to teach them. I sometimes feel exhausted from answering questions about Islam and the Arab culture but then I remind myself that without me giving the correct information to others then they will probably get a wrong one from the many pointless available propaganda.
5- To know the locals
when I travel solo is when I get approached for conversations. When I am with a group, people are not as brave to say more than a comment. Let me give you few examples:
- When I was in Athens, I made friends with the table next to me. First, we politely smiled then before you know it I was with them on the table talking about art in details because the girl happened to be an artist too!
- when I was on the train in Sri Lanka, people sat next to me and they were very thrilled to tell me about the upcoming waterfalls so I get my camera ready to capture them!
6- More awareness of people and places
When you are by yourself, you will have to depend on your instinct to tell if a person or a place is safe or not and that will just make you more aware.
“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” ― Maya Angelou
7- Enjoy your own company
I think this one is the most important lesson I have learnt from travelling. I truly learnt how to enjoy my own company. People still don't understand this one. I even get asked: "but how can you travel alone? and go to restaurants alone!" Well first off: alone doesn't mean lonely and second that teaches you to appreciate yourself and value your own time. I did get asked in Sri Lanka once about why I was alone when I entered one of the restaurants, but I just said because I like it. The waiter still prayed for me to return with a partner one day not knowing anything about me, but I didn't mind. I still had an EPIC trip!!
“You are not an option, a choice or a soft place to land after a long battle. You were meant to be the one. If you can wrap yourself around the idea that you are something incredible, then you will stop excusing behavior that rapes your very soul. You were never meant to teach someone to love you. You were meant to be loved.” ― Shannon L. Alder
8- Get lost and discover
That can be done with others, but it's different when you are by yourself. I take a much longer time to find my own way when I am alone because I can't always remember the routes I take. It feels like walking on a cloud that's how much I am in my own world, but that's ok because I get to discover new spots!
“How To Be An Explorer Of The World?
1. Always Be LOOKING (notice the ground beneath your feet.)
2. Consider Everything Alive & Animate
3. EVERYTHING Is Interesting. Look Closer.
4. Alter Your Course Often.
5. Observe For Long Durations (and short ones).
6. Notice The Stories Going On Around You.
7. Notice PATTERNS. Make CONNECTIONS.
8. DOCUMENT Your Findings (field notes) In a variety Of ways.
9. Incorporate Indeterminacy.
10. Observe Movement.
11. Create a Personal DIALOGUE With Your Environment. Talk to it.
12. Trace Things Back to Their ORIGINS.
13. Use ALL of the Senses In Your Investigations.”
― Keri Smith, How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum