07/03/2017

Darker Side of Traveling Solo

Oban
I previously wrote about the perks of traveling alone (click here) and tips to say safe while traveling solo here, however it is only fair to also share the darker side of travelling alone. As always all the examples I will share with you are taken from my own experience, I will not be simply repeating things ‘friend of a friend told me’. It is real, it was at times scary, and it is what I experienced. 

France Paris May 2011

I’ve visited Sacré-Cœur during the late afternoon hours. Tired of walking all morning I slowly climbing up the stairs to see the sunset with everyone else, when out of nowhere someone grabbed my hand and started to drag me down the stairs. As I turned around I noticed that the person dragging me down was considerably bigger and a lot stronger than I am; none of my attempts to pull free from the strong grip worked. As breaking free was not an option I did the first thing that came to my panicked brain, a seriously high pitched squeak. It came out of nowhere and as quickly as he grabbed me he disappeared in the crowd.

Birmingham January 2017

I stayed in Birmingham Central Backpackers Hostel and decided to go for a kebab around 7pm. Walk from Coventry Street to High Street Deritend and then to the Kebab place at Digbeth took me around eight minutes. In that time I had already a car full of men beeping their horn at me, which at least for me is never a form of flattery. Happy with my kebab and on a way back to the hostel two men in their twenties, under the influence of alcohol and judging by their eyes a line of something stronger too, bumped into me. They insisted on take me for a drink and if I am a lucky lady (their words) maybe something more too.
On my way back via Milk Street a man started following me, which was pretty obvious as he was walking in the opposite direction and then changed immediately upon seeing me turn into Milk Street. At the beginning I thought that I was being paranoid but the quicker he walked and the closer he became it was clear that he was not rushing with good intentions. Fortunately another person appeared from around the corner so that postpone his intentions.

Different Places, Various Times

I have also had guys saying to me: 

'You are so small, I could take you like a carpet on my shoulder and no one would help you even if you screamed.' - random guy in a green space straight bang in city centre, I was 16teen and terrified.

'I know an undiscovered cave so no one would ever find you.' - whispered into my ear by a random guy on a beach as I was waiting for a friend to appear.

'If I let my dog off the leash you will not run far.' - different park, different guy.

'Since you are traveling alone, you want sex, right?' - couchsurfing event.

'How do you feel knowing that I am stronger than you?' - random guy sitting next to me on a train.

'Stay in my flat, you just have to be nice to me, and I will let you crash on my couch.' - first ever trip to London, I was approached by a middle aged man next to National Gallery.  

Bad things happen to good people the only thing you can do is take precautions. I must admit after reading again this post as I am proofreading it, I can see why my mum can be so terrified each time I leave for an adventure.

Read the second part of my stories and darker side of AirBnb this Thursday.

I would love to read about your experiences, share your stories in comments. 
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9 comments

  1. That's really scary. It makes me so sad whenever I read something like this. I just can't believe that such people actually exist. I really hope that those things or ever worse won't happen to you or anybody else. xo

    Antonia || Sweet Passions

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    1. Hi Antonia, I guess it can happen to anyone anywhere so it's better to be aware. Bad things happen to good people, which is terrifying. Iga x

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  2. I think it is so impressive you go traveling yourself despite these stories! It is something I could never do... <3

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    1. Hi Claire, travelling solo is really good. Thankfully the amount of good stories, great people, and crazy fun times happen way more often than the bad ones. Iga x

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  3. OMG Iga, these are really scary, I never knew sick people existed all over the world, I thought they were only in a few countries.

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    1. Hi Shayne, I am afraid they don't just stick to one particular country. You can find them in places you would never expect. Iga x

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  4. Oh I am sorry this has happened to you :-( I have been groped and rubbed on on subways which is awful but I kind of shrugged it off as I was young. Street harassment is pretty bad in Scotland generally I think if you are alone you are a target but I have never had anyone threaten me that must have been so scary for you! :-( I generally always felt safe in NYC so I was lucky. My Mom and I also had some aggressive men at Sacre Couer trying to grab us (I think they were selling stuff I don't knaw) and I told him to f- off in French and said I was from New York don't mess with me lol! It was a shame because it was my Mom's first time in Paris ans nothing like that happened when I went with my husband.

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    1. Oh no! People like that ruin parisian experience. I can see why they try to be so aggressive why they try to sell something but it actually puts tourists off rather than encourage them to spend money. What did your mum think of Paris? Actually I feel pretty safe in Scotland, even if people whistle at me. It's usually more of a banter than anything else for me. Iga x

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  5. That's awful! I have had more dodgy things said to me on this country than abroad. Although when I went to India with my family, there were a lot of disgusting comments made. Also while trying an item of clothing in a shop one of the worker tried to touch me, needless to say I got the hell out of there. I would sat, even as an Indian women, I would never travel to India alone, never, I would say it is one of the most dangerous places in the world for women!

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