Female travels seems to be forming a theme of its own with the increasing trend of solo female travellers and travel agencies offering women-only tours. Google trends show a steady increase in “solo female travel” from 2013 and seems to be on an upward trajectory. As two Asian girls backpacking around Australia, we have heard our fair share of concerns, both from completely strangers to our closest friends and family. If I was being really honest, yes, it is harder. Travelling as two girls means more planning, more worries and more baggage (literally). But of course, with the bad comes the good. It also means having someone who understands your concerns, sharing everything (including clothes, YAY!) and sharing all the responsibilities.
If you’re going on your with trip with your best friend and worrying about whether your friendship might be affected because of it, read on.
When I say more planning I mean we literally have to pre-plan where to stay when Aunt Flo comes to visit…. TWICE, once for each of us. Freedom camping in a tent is great (and free) but at a certain time of the month, it just isn’t ideal. That aside, there really are just some physical limitations. Say, lifting a 60+ kg rooftop tent up on our SUV? We did eventually manage to wiggle it up but also almost broke our backs in the process.
Fitting in perfectly with the female stereotype, we do have a lot of baggage with us. I mean clothes, shoes, skin-care, make-up and really, the list can go on and on it’ll probably fill the rest of this article. While we do try to cut down on the unnecessary, we really can’t be photographed wearing the same outfit twice can we?
Some people might think that 2 girls can be a recipe for disaster. Staying together 24/7 is not all sparkles and fairy dust. Yes, we quarrel, we fight (a lot), we have had major disagreements once in a while. But it’s how we overcome these differences that keeps us going. Neither of us is always right, and neither of us is always wrong either. No one should always be the one giving in all the time. It’s ok to walk away for a bit to cool off, since you are already literally together 24/7. Sometime you just need to walk away, take a step back, and move forward again. If you can, talk it out when both of you have cooled down. It may seem tough, but it’s the right thing to do. Don’t pent up your frustrations like a pressure cooker and risk exploding later. Really, it’s not worth it. Settle the matter as early as you can and y’all will be fine 🙂 I mean, worst comes to worst y’all just have to end the trip early, no?
Keeping the worst for the last, the BIG question we get all the time: “Is it even safe?”. No, it isn’t safe if you do stupid things, skip the research, walk creepy alleys at midnight and leave your common sense at home. Truth is, while we acknowledge that danger is very real, we also always make sure to take the necessary precautions, have each other’s backs and never stay anywhere we do not feel safe.
Girls just get girls, and travelling with someone who understands you, your physical and emotional needs can be very comforting especially in a foreign place. I mean, ladies night every night? Why not!
While I did mention earlier that we do have a lot more baggage, the flip side is DOUBLE THE WARDROBE!!! We literally share everything from tops to tights to socks to jackets and occasionally, footwear. It’s like having a whole new set of outfits except it’s not really yours. Almost like stealing your sister’s clothes but the less angry version of that.
Forget gender roles, travelling as two girls means we both play equal responsibilities in doing everything. From cooking to cleaning to packing and fixing, everything that needs to be done is an equal responsibility. This also means learning together and figuring out how to do things we have never done before. We have learnt to install our roof racks, rooftop tent, inspected our own car, set up camp and many other tasks we have never done before.
Ever get the feeling its easier to try something new with a friend rather than having to do it alone? Travelling with another her also means having two times the guts to try something out of your comfort zone. Many a time, we choose the easier option when we are alone simply because it always seems scarier without the company of someone else (even if they absolutely add no value in making things easier).
“Nothing worth having comes easy”
While travelling as two girls has its share of troubles and difficulties, the biggest pay off would be the things we learnt while getting out of our comfort zone. Being responsible while travelling together means more than just taking care of yourself, but also your travel buddy. In some sense, we became more independent together as one, while also learning to trust and depend on one another.
So, to anyone who’s going on their first adventure or overseas trip with their closest buddy, don’t fret. Just take it easy and I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time. I mean, no matter how the trip turns out, it’ll still be something to talk about in the future. 😉
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