Random Thoughts on Women and Travel and Being Busy

Random Thoughts on Women and Travel and Being Busy

Preface: I started writing this post while roadtripping to Oklahoma, in October 2016.

Today two women who crossed my path commented on the fact that I was traveling alone. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m alone. I mean, I know I’m not with anyone else but it doesn’t feel like anything out of the ordinary that it warrants commenting. Ya know?

And of course I can’t help but wonder if men are engaged in the same way in the same venues. If you’re standing in a highway rest stop having a drink and stretching your legs – do people comment on the fact that you’re alone? If you were in Siberia or something, I could see it. But in “civilization”?

One of the women went on to tell me that she admired me and wished that she could just pack up and go wandering. But… ::heavy sigh::… she just can’t find the time because of work. Here’s the thing, though. Everybody’s busy. We’ve all got jobs and families and pets and sick loved ones. Can you wander for a day? An afternoon? An hour? We choose how much busy we want to carry on with, we choose our own prisons and we can choose to taste freedom in varying degrees and doses.

Sometimes I think we use busy as a crutch so that we don’t have to be alone with ourselves and our thoughts. We just might discover how boring we are and how little we know about what we like to do for pure pleasure. That’s a tangent for another day though, I think.

The thing I always wonder about after such exchanges with strangers – what is it that keeps women from traveling on their own? If I told a woman that traveling solo was something only men were “allowed” to do, they’d probably be outraged. But that’s exactly what so many are telling themselves. What is it that we’re taught from the time we’re little girls that keeps us paired off? Why are we conditioned this way? And more importantly, how do we undo it? How do we help women who are curious about solo travel get out there and try it?

Perhaps it’s a generational thing. Maybe my 40-something generation will be the last of the nail-biters to sit around wishing instead of doing. With media being what it is, girls coming up these days have so many accessible examples of ass-kicking women who are out there honey badgering their way through life.

I wish everyone was able to find their own power and greatness. It’s time to stop smothering our personal joy with fear and self-doubt.

19 Replies to “Random Thoughts on Women and Travel and Being Busy”

  1. Love the way you think Fuzzy! I’m right there with ya’. Last year on my road trip to Montana I had so many people comment on the fact that it was a woman traveling alone. My favorite was at a gas station in Wyoming talking to a woman who rode as a pillion. She said “you rode all the way from VT” – yes. “Alone” – yes. “But you are a woman” – ummm, and that should matter how???

    Keep on riding sistah’

    1. I don’t know how you can go on dragging that handicapping vagina around. 😆 😉

      You are a perfect example of the type of woman I hope that this next generation of rider will look at and say – “oh, look what I can do.” You are a great role model.

  2. It’s easier for women to ride pillion or not alone. I think we’ve been taught to question our decision making.
    I’m trying to get young women to learn to ride. It’s empowering. And since I ride (solo – my husband doesn’t ride) and I’m as old as their mothers (arghh), it’s harder for their mothers to object;))

    1. The way i’ve been thinking about it lately, i’ve got to walk it back further. Why is it easier for them to be alone/pillion? What led to that being the case? It goes back to the way we’re raised from toddlers on up.

  3. I’ve got a friend trying to talk me into getting a more powerful bike so I can go farther. My KLR250 has trouble passing logging trucks at 60 on the highway;). Such a fun bike, though. I don’t need big and cushy, they were just thinking more power/more pickup. Any thoughts on longer distance travel?

    1. Do you still want to monkey around on trails or single track? Or just dirt roads and light 2-track? Everything dualsport is a compromise. Something like a DR650 could be fine road-going but still not cushy or plush. But if you want to cover 1,000s of miles and do light dualsporting the Tiger 8s/BMWGS700 might be workable. But they’re more road oriented.

  4. Of the women I’ve known who ride, a few would be comfortable setting of on their own but most would only ride as a part of a group or with their boyfriend/husband. I, too, hope that this is changing as they are missing out on a lot of fantastic experiences one only gets when riding alone. Riders like you, Karen (VStar Lady), and others in this community are great role models. Keep it up.

    1. Thank you, David 🙂
      I don’t know if i’m a good role model. But at the very least someone can look at me and go – “if this ding-a-ling can do it, i can too!” 😉

  5. I don’t think men get questioned so much. I never get questioned when I’m driving my car alone, but on a bike, alone, there are questions. I think in general society considers women more vulnerable and weaker than men and motorcycles, although it’s changing, were generally associated with men. There are still plenty of little girls out there being conditioned to believe that their gender affects their abilities. Kudos to you for being an extraordinary role model for your daughter 🙂
    Time though, applies to us all and I agree with you, sometimes people use ‘no time’ as an excuse. We all have time, how we choose to use it is up to us. I’m personally working on that myself.
    As far as doing things alone, I guess if you’re a very sociable person and mostly spend
    time with others it’s a challenge to be alone. I have the opposite problem haha! 😉

    1. As far as doing things alone, I guess if you’re a very sociable person and mostly spend
      time with others it’s a challenge to be alone. I have the opposite problem haha!

      Geee… i know someone else like that 😉

      We all have time, how we choose to use it is up to us.

      Couldn’t agree more. If you want to do something bad enough, you’ll find a way to make the time.

  6. I admire you for doing overnight trips on your own on the motorcycle. I’ve considered it myself, but my husband and I get 4 days a month together with him being in emergency medicine and me being a cop. So, when we do any big trips that involves overnight accommodations, we like to do it together. I will do solo rides on my own during the day and I have no problems going out and doing my own thing, be it in my car or on one of my two bikes.

    I’ve gotten it all the time, especially when I commuted to work (pre- having to carry a lot of law enforcement gear) – other women could not believe that I happily made the trip to work solo and among a lot of crazy drivers. Women have told me that they always wanted to ride but didn’t think it would be easy for them to learn how. I told them, take the class! No, it’s not easy at first. But anything worth having takes work! Men are always surprised to see me handle my GSXR 750 – they tend to consider it a “man’s bike.” It bothers me sometimes when men and other women are surprised that I’m a cop and I love riding motorcycles. I think that’s why I like to be solo when I’m on my own – because women in my field tend to be competitive and not that nice to each other, and I haven’t found a ton of women motorcyclists in my area to ride with on my random days off.

    1. i completely get that, wanting to share your down time with your love. and i also understand the competitive woman thing. but i dont subscribe to it either. I just want everyone to be peaceful and happy and enjoying their lives.

  7. I am a guy, am fairly sociable, and have great relationships with my family and friends, but mostly I recreate alone. I’ve always enjoyed going it alone, whether dining, hiking, simply wandering, or—over the last ten-ish years—travelling by motorcycle (one thing I like is not being subject to another’s schedule or whims or non-whims). Sure, I’m open to possibilities, but I don’t seek an alternative—I don’t want to waste my time that way. That I’ve happily put in the hands of the universe: If an alternative crosses my path, I’ll try to take notice; otherwise, I am content.

    Anyway: Folks (women and men) do ask if I ever worry about travelling alone, but it’s always in the context of what if you have an accident or a vehicle breakdown in the middle of nowhere? My response is always that I notify at least one person of my whereabouts and that I prepare as well as possible for the unexpected. If I have a vehicle breakdown and am unable to reach someone to rescue me, I’m always prepared—with a small pack and extra food and water and other supplies—to start walking. So be it, I say, it’s all part of the adventure.

    Here’s a question for you, though I know that you’ve addressed it before and even somewhat in this post… No, not a question, more like rhetorical speculation: I bet that when men hear that you travel alone, most respond with something like “cool” or “badass” or “right on”, that the pushback you get is mostly from women. Yes, living can be dangerous, but more often we’re surprised by the goodness of others. And yes, women are exposed to somewhat different threats than men, but—once again—there is more good than bad out there. (I’m beginning to wonder if they really are concerned about strangers, or if they’re misperceiving others’ fearlessness as criticism of their own fearfulness…)

    Living is dangerous, but the unexamined life is—indeed—not worth living. And as I see it—hell, as many see it—travel is one way to examine one’s life, one damn fine way to examine life in general.

    1. Sometimes men will respond in a “i need to save you” sort of way. You can see that they are more attuned to taking care as a protector versus being an equal, if you know what i mean. but overall – women seem to offer up more surprise or remark in a way that makes it seem out of the ordinary.

      sometimes i think we dance around what the real issue that women worry about is – it is physical or sexual violence. i dont know how to undo that thinking. all men aren’t predators. i agree – there is more good than bad. but we live in a world that regularly refers to people as bad skittles. its a mindset.

      i dont want to be afraid. sometimes i am. sometimes i’m not. there is a balance to be had. but if you dont go, you’re only tipping the scales in one direction.

  8. “I think that’s why I like to be solo when I’m on my own – because women in my field tend to be competitive and not that nice to each other.”
    I like not being subject to another’s schedule or whims or non-whims.

    I’m beginning to wonder if they really are concerned about strangers, or if they’re misperceiving others’ fearlessness as criticism of their own fearfulness…”
    — that’s why I’ve had to go outside my peer group (married farm women with kids…:p) for friendships. I needed friends who would support me, challenge me, and liked to have adventures running, hiking, camping, motorcycling. There are people out there who will challenge you and like to have fun in the same ways you do. The women in my “peer group” made me feel like I was weird because I didn’t want to hang out and do crafts and drink tea.
    So, yeah, a lot of times I end up hanging out with men because they’re not hobbled by entrenched fears. And, yes, the younger women need fearless (crazy) role models.

      1. Well, yeah, why do you think I like reading what you write? :))) The younger ones need to also see that they’re not alone. They want to change the world, and they’re not going to do it by following others.

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