I know it’s a bit out-of-place to be talking about travel right now, given the current global context as I write this in early/mid 2020. But as I stay stuck at home for the good of the community… My mind is still travelling, and is even beginning to plan the next big adventure, once the world “reopens”, of course. Perhaps it is a way to keep my mind entertained while trying to work from home, but it’s exciting nonetheless. Even though the world has had to change for just a little while, I believe that it is a good time for girls everywhere to reflect on their journeys, and even form ideas to begin a journey of their own, whenever it is safe to do so.
Location: Paris, France.
Throughout my time in Europe, it was my goal to feel like a local. I wanted to blend in with the normal crowd and to feel like I belonged in this new landscape (perhaps as an effort to protect myself). In no place was this harder to do this than in Paris. As the city known for stunning architecture, rich history, and beautiful people around every corner, Paris truly lived up to the reputation of the City of Love. Over the measly 72 hours I spent there, I had become entranced and felt challenged to up my game.
When travelling alone as a girl, it is important to stick to your plans and be confident in yourself, especially when you meet challenges. Whether they be psychological (like a bump to your self-esteem), or physical (like getting lost in a train station, because construction works threw you off).
I think what created the most challenges for me was the fact that I was alone, I had to make my own plans and find my own way– but while that part was fine, it was sitting alone for dinner in a beautiful city where the absence of a companion was felt. When sitting alone and just eating in peace, I even felt judged by waiters at some points. But that may have just been me being self-conscious.
Confidence is key when attempting to blend in with citizens, and it’s useful to at least learn a little bit of the language. For me, that was learning how to say in French: “I’m sorry, I don’t speak French, do you speak English?” As well as the essential “Please” and “Thank you.”
Someone shows confidence in the way they hold themselves, if a girl walks with her head held high and steps forward with a goal, hardly anyone would be able to get in her way. Even though sometimes a reminder to be confident is needed, it is very easy to choose to stay in the hotel room all day, but with an unexplored city right outside, it felt like staying alone in a room would be a crime.
For a girl travelling alone, the idea of spending a day walking alone all day may be intimidating, and invigorating. But once a girl starts to walk with confidence, moving from place to place becomes easier, especially when in such a beautiful place. Almost always, plans change, and when a girl has the confidence to push through challenges, the day can become a great adventure.
This wasn’t the only time where my confidence was fleeting during my journey, but that’s also just another aspect of what was a journey of self-discovery and growth. For others, this type of journey comes in the form of many things, whether it is exploring a new city, or exploring new places on the home-soil. This type of adventure is heightened by the power of confidence, and for a girl; the memories could truly be amazing.
Girl Museum Inc.