For some women, all they have to do is buy a plane ticket and throw 3 clothes in their bag to go on a 6 month tour of Asia. I am not one of those women and maybe you are not either.
I decide to go to Alaska for several months. I go in search of wide open spaces and silence. I go to confront the wild nature. I'm going in search of time to dive deep inside. But the journey started well before departure.
Facing your most intimate fears
The more I envision this journey, the more my fears crystallize in me: fear of insecurity, of aggression, of not being up to par. Visualizing myself alone, so far from home, generates fear of everything and nothing. However, it was far from my first trip. But this one, by its duration and its destination had the flavor of the big jump. It comes back to me in memory of the ghostly sentences of my childhood, with tetanizing power: " you are not the same as your brother, you are a girl "," it's too dangerous for a girl "," don't you have a friend who can accompany you? "," you are more vulnerable than a boy "
Facing the world and guilt
A few weeks before my departure, I discover that in my friendly and professional circle, many people think that I am leaving because I want to leave my spouse. These people don’t hear that I can just want and need to go alone. We both feel that we are breaking away from a society that interprets and judges my decision without understanding it. To this is added the collection of comments intended – not always conscious – to discourage me: " Alaska alone? I won't do it for you " or " you are unconscious "And my favorite" you're going to get eaten raw my little one! "
Going alone on a trip is showing those, and those who do not allow themselves, that it is possible. This awakens their fears, sometimes tickles their suppressed dreams and confronts them with their own limits. It is also resisting the guilt that society would like me to experience: a good woman does not leave the home and those around her, for her sole pleasure.
Leaving alone is also a militant act – almost political – by being the world myself as I want to live it, as I want it to be. A world where women are not perceived to be more vulnerable or less able than men. A world where ordinary sexism does not exist. A world where whatever the genre, the exploration of our uniqueness and the quest for self are encouraged.
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This trip was up to me. It was enough to believe in me and give me the means. It started by accepting that it was not so easy for me to go alone to the other side of the world. Accept not to be understood, neither in my desire, nor in my questions, nor in my fears. And finally, accept that part of society takes me for a madwoman. So I set out to find everything I could find to understand my fears and brakes in the hope of taming them. One by one, I identified my fears and looked for their antidotes.
I prepared myself physically and mentally through exercises, self-defense courses, self-improvement courses, readings. I also paid particular attention to the preparation of my luggage because being organized as well as possible reassured me. I imagined tricks to overcome my anxieties. I put in place everything I needed to nurture my self-confidence and build the courage to go on this journey. The preparation for the trip taught me as much about myself as the trip itself.
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A contemporary rite of passage
When I returned, I was overcome with joy and pride: on my humble scale, I showed that it was possible. That a woman could go on an adventure alone without being an extraordinary adventurer. I didn’t eat myself raw in Alaska like many men told me. I didn’t need a male chaperone as many women warmly recommended.
But the energy and courage that it took me to dare to leave, I went to look for them inside me. With hindsight, I realize that the lived process is similar to what other cultures call "a rite of passage". Dive into your heart, face your fears and then draw from them the resources that make us grow and evolve. Sort out what is in me and what is induced by the environment, society, those around us. Free yourself from the eyes of the other. Deepen self-knowledge and tame your ego. Embrace its qualities and its gray areas. Open to marvel at every moment.
Solo travel is a great alchemist. It profoundly transforms the nature of being and brings me a little closer to who I am.
Entrepreneur and traveler and community initiator Women Solo Travelers and founder of Living the basics, Anaïs explores the sensitive aspect of life. Through writing, contemplation, reliance on nature and moments of loneliness chosen, she questions our lifestyles and creates inspiring tools that help focus on the essentials in our lives. His game of introspection cards (re) finding the basics has been experienced by over 500 people.