Celebrating International Women’s Day by Spotlighting Female Travelers – Meet Ananda
What is your favorite solo travel destination?
Why did you decide to travel on your own?
During my junior year of high school, I was contemplating a trip over the summer before my senior year. I happened upon EF’s website and knew it was a great fit for me! As a minor, I knew there would be challenges involved with traveling internationally and solo, and didn’t want that to become a hindrance. I knew I needed something with structure and purpose to keep me engaged and social. Traveling to China was a big step in growing up for me. I always wanted to leave my hometown and have new experiences (even uncomfortable situations, at least temporarily). To be honest, I think there was just nobody that I wanted to travel with, therefore, the best option was to just take myself!
What are the benefits of solo travel?
When people ask me what the best thing I took away from my trip was, it was the confidence that I was completely independent in a country that I had never been to before. China has thousands of people who did not speak my native language, yet I SURVIVED. In fact, I did more than survive. I prospered!
I had to make friends with people who had never met an American before. I had to use another language to get my thoughts across, even if it was just asking the lady in the bathroom stall next to me for more tissue paper. I got confident enough to go out at night, call my own taxi, and then make it home safely all on my own. I had to communicate with adults about trips and plans that my parents would normally do for me. All of these things made me feel both intellectual, dependable, and responsible. None of these things I think are necessarily mandatory for high schoolers here in America.
What advice do you have for other woman looking to travel on their own?
Tell someone back home that you’re traveling and inform them where exactly you’ll be staying and for how long. Learn a few words and phrases of the language of the country were traveling to because it could help you get around and fit in.
International Woman’s day is Thursday, March 8th. It commemorates the movement for women’s rights. Learn more at internationalwomensday.com.