Have you ever been introduced to someone as the “crazy travel chick”? I have and if you’re a solo traveler, I’m guessing you have been introduced this way, too.
Oftentimes, I find I’m the center of attention at gatherings, parties and events because of my travel adventures. It’s as though I’m an oddity, almost like a sideshow act, invited to provide variety and entertainment to guests.
Women find it fascinating I’m able to head off on my own and I do my best to reassure them they can do the same. Men seem to be intrigued by independence. Ironically, sometimes I’m a big chicken when it comes to travel. I’m not like my friend Barb who drove her pickup truck with her cat riding shotgun across the Mexican border and along the back roads to her final destination near Lake Chapala a few years ago. Nope. I’m not that adventurous.
While stories of aggressive wild monkeys, bathing naked in a Japanese onsen and how to handle drunk Japanese men are entertaining, the most requested travel narratives are from my 2006 trip to Kabul. A friend in Texas asked I bring the blue burqa I brought back and give a presentation to her book group. They had fun with the burqa and it gave them perspective of the constraints the garment has on women.
As a side note, the burqa gives me the creeps and I have refused to put it on and rarely touch it. I keep it as a symbol of hope – I hope it once belonged to a woman who decided she didn’t need to wear no stinkin’ burqa!
Most recently, over the summer I was introduced to Doug Lansky of SignSpotting.com (funny signs from around the world – check out his site) at the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism. I was introduced as “the crazy travel chick.”
How do you transition into an intelligent conversation after that? Somehow I did and learned about Lansky’s Signspotting Project in which he has taken 100 wacky travel signs of miscommunication, mounted them on metal and created a sculpture garden of signs. Pretty cool project and I hope to see it in the States.
I ask, am I crazy? I don’t think so. I’m living life and seeking adventure. I admit to have pushed the boundaries of traditional travel and if that’s crazy, so be it.
Chime in – are you a solo traveler and do you sometimes feel you’re treated as a curiosity?