5 tips for a solo traveling girl (like, genuine tips, 'cause I've been there!)
First things first: Go travel alone, already! You'll be fine. Trust me. You'll be better than fine, you'll be great! You'll be invincible. You'll be empowered.
I've been to Mexico and India and Brazil and Argentina and so many more countries. Alone. I didn't really choose to travel alone. It just happened. I wanted to go there. No one would go with me. I went alone.
And then, I suddenly realized that I'm fine by myself. I don't need a travel companion. I am enough.
Believe me, nothing is more empowering than going to freakin' Oaxaca, Mexico, arriving in the middle of the night, somehow making your way to some random hostel, somehow this hostel having an available bed. And there you are: you managed to get a place to sleep for the night. You did this.
Here's some advice I can give you:
1) Be a little naive, but don't be stupid. Thinking that the world is great and people are awesome and that you are unsmotable will actually make you unsmotable (is this even a word or did I just pick it up from "GIRLS"?). Just be confident that everything will turn out well and it will. I can't explain why. Law of attraction or something like that. BUT: definitely definitely don't walk around Rio de Janeiro with a big fat Canon Eos 70D around your neck. That's just being stupid.
2) Be confident (or, at least, look confident). This goes hand in hand with number 1. But as security (especially for women) is kind of an issue in many countries, I'd like to insist a little more on this. Don't be stupid! Don't walk around weird neighborhoods at night. Don't stop and look around all the time. Walk confidently. If you're lost, walk like you know where you're going and just ask someone for directions (who doesn't look like a mass murderer). It's fine, don't panic. It's a all good.
3) Open up. Be curious. Be open to new food. To a new language (which will be my next point: learn the friggin' language!). To a different way of thinking. To horse riding in the Andes. To any new experience that is offered to you. Don't hold back. Ask questions. Mingle with the locals. Ask more questions. And more. And more.
4) Learn the language. Learn as much of the local language as you can. There is no way around this if you really want to understand the culture (and if you want to get ripped off less). Locals appreciate it. Allot. And you will get access to the people and culture in way you won't otherwise.
5) From the distance, everything looks big and dark and confusing. Buenos Aires. This remote and vague place. How am I even going to get around there? Where will I get food? Will I die? (No!) But, guess what, once you are there, Buenos Aires will be your reality. It will be all small steps: Taxi to the hostel. Bring your bag to your room. Sit on your bed. Teeny tiny steps. Being there will just be your reality. It will be very concrete and very bright and very clear. (I hope I'm getting my point across, 'cause being aware of this is super important: once you are there, it will be easy. It won't be big and dark, at all.)
Don't be afraid.
Most of all, don't be afraid. Ever.