Safety whilst Traveling Solo

I found this article and it’s a long read but it’s a good read. I thought about how courageous Laura Yan is for coming out and telling her tale. I feel that this could empower others as well as help her heal from this traumatic experience. Violence against women is quite rampant worldwide. according to statistics,  1 in 3 women are victimized whether physically or sexually. There’s a high incidence of rape or sexual violence, not only in the US but also in other countries and we should really work together to put a stop to it. Where do we start? How? Again, according to statistics, the perpetrators are usually the ones we trust. They’re really well versed in the art of seduction. I enrolled my daughter in different types of martial arts since they were 4 years old but that won’t be enough to protect them if they let their guards down. I just have to pray that God and their guardian angels will keep them safe at all times.

As an avid solo traveler—and proponent of the empowerment traveling alone can offer women—Laura Yan has been conflicted about revealing she was raped in Bolivia.

via The ‘Shaman’: A Committed Solo Traveler Struggles to Reconcile Being Raped While Abroad — Longreads Blog


I added this excerpt from the article. I tried to read it without judgement. You must ask why? I am a mother of two teenage girls and I was fighting the urge to scream, “What the hell are you still doing there? Run for your life!” But I wasn’t there. It wasn’t my experience. I was just too scared that this man could have killed her after he was done with his business. Maybe I was over reacting because I just finished reading the story of the young American woman, Dahlia Yehia,  who volunteered in Nepal and was allegedly killed by her couchsurfer host. Her body has not yet been found.

I was so scared for Laura. She was brave and she had the presence of mind to do what she had to do in order to survive. I know a lot of readers would say that they wouldn’t have placed themselves in that situation but hindsight is 20/20. She has been traveling and she has trusted strangers in the past who did not take advantage of her.

“We went back to his room, with that piece of green fabric that hid the light. He started kissing me, and then the panic started to rise. I told him to stop. I struggled. He pinned my arm down. “Stop, por favor,” I tried, again. “I’ll scream. I’ll call the police.”

He said, “You don’t know how many times they’ve done that before.” They. It hit me. There were other women. He knew, and I knew, exactly what was going to happen next.

I’d imagined this happening, countless times before. I’d thought about it as a taboo fantasy and as a worst-case scenario. I’d imagined the witty things I’d say to try and stop it. I’d say: Okay, but please use a condom. I’d say: Okay, I’ve always wanted this.

This time it wouldn’t matter what I said, if I protested or if I fought. “Do it,” I said, laughing and crying, at once. Not consenting, but mocking him as he fucked me. “Que rico! Gracias,” I shouted. I couldn’t let him have the satisfaction of hurting me. I couldn’t let him win.”


I’m planning to go on a solo back packing trip in a couple of years… I was feeling brave and vibrant and I feel that I’m ready now that I’m in my 40’s… but after I’ve read this article I feel like I’m losing faith in the kindness and authenticity of strangers. We’ll see… I still have a couple of years to think about it.




Laura Yan is a freelance writer, wanderer and artist from California. She still travels alone.

Editor: Sari Botton




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