#Viajo Sola: Defending Our Right to Travel Alone Safely

viajosola

I’ll travel alone this summer, on a solo drive from Cincinnati to Los Angeles. My Dad thinks I’m crazy. Since I’m a woman, he’s worried for my safety. The fact that he feels he has to worry really pisses me off.

Everyone should be able to travel alone without fear.

So I’m turning this road trip into a campaign for women and other populations – people of color, our lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and trans friends and family – who risk facing harassment, discrimination, unwanted sexual advances, and at worst violent assault when we travel alone.

While many people travel alone safely all the time, the fact is that many people are afraid to do this – with good reason. You could spend weeks reading about how to travel safely as a woman, person of color, member of our LGBTQ community. Google “women solo travel,” “traveling while black” or “LGBTQ travel” and you’ll see what I mean. Here’s a sampling:

The Negro Motorist Green Book Travel Guide
New York Times: Traveling While Black

The Best Places for Women to Travel Solo – Travel & Leisure
Advice for Women Who Travel Solo – New York Times

International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association
LGBTQ Travel: Best & Worst Countries

This is what inspired me to start my #Viajo sola campaign:

Women Defend Solo Travels After Murder of Backpackers in Equador

The incredible twitter response at: #Viajosola

and

Viajo Sola: A Mi Me Mato el Asesino

Solo Travelers: Documenting Your Stories
Prior to my trip, and possibly along the way, I’d like to interview fellow solo travelers to document their stories. If you’re a solo traveler who is also a woman, I’d like to speak with you. If you’re a solo traveler and a member of our GLBTQ community, I’d like to hear your solo travel story as well. Drop me a line at:

sarah@sarahbhawkins.com

Supporters, Here’s Where You Come In
I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, so am nervous about doing this. Having your support will be a source of strength and inspiration. I’ve driven this road once before, in 2013, with a friend. It’s time for me to reclaim this journey on my own.

If you’d like to comment or tweet a message of support, that would be *awesome.*

Follow me on twitter for trip updates and photos from the road west. I’ll leave in late July.

@sarahhawkins80

The Intersection Between Our Right to Travel Alone and Victim Blaming
Guadalupe Acosta said it best in a Facebook post that went viral after the murder of the two women backpacking through Ecuador.

She wrote in the voices of the victims. Part of the translated post is below.

This is why I’m going to #viajo sola, and why I’m calling for your help to change how we talk about crime victims – in this case two young women attacked while traveling alone.

Yesterday I was killed … But worse than death, was the humiliation that followed. From the time they had my dead body nobody asked where the (person) that ended my dreams, my hopes and my life was.

No, rather than that they started asking me useless questions. To me, can you imagine? A dead girl, who cannot speak, who cannot defend herself.

“What clothes did you wear?”

“Why were you alone?”

“Why would a woman travel alone?”

“You got into a dangerous neighborhood, what did you expect?”

They questioned my parents for giving me wings, let me be independent, like any human being. They told them we were on drugs and we surely asked for it. They told them they should have looked after us.

And only when dead I realised that no, that for the rest of the world I was not like a man. That dying was my fault, and it will always be. If the headline would have said ‘two young male travellers were killed’ people would be expressing their condolences and with their false and hypocritical double standard speech would demand higher penalty for murderers.

I ask you, on behalf of myself and every other woman ever hushed, silenced; I ask you on behalf on behalf of every woman whose life was crushed, to raise your voice. We will fight, I’ll be with you in spirit, and I promise that one day we’ll be so many that there won’t be enough bags in the world to shut up us all.

 

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