Mantova • Campo Canoa
june 7-9 2024

Mantova • Campo Canoa
june 7-9 2024

Traveling Solo as a Woman: The Experience of Giulia Baroncini.

Monday, 20 May, 2024

For as long as I can remember, before embarking on a solo trip, whether by bike or not, the most frequently asked question has always been the same: “Are you sure you want to go alone?” And my answer has always been “Yes, why?”

I’ve never found anything strange about traveling solo. In fact, quite the opposite. But it’s true, I always forget one thing: I am a woman.

Even in ancient times, women were not allowed to travel; they were supposed to stay at home. And when the first bicycle prototypes came out, women were not allowed to ride them. Indeed, women on bicycles would probably have gained much more freedom, but it wasn’t meant to be that way.

Although times have (fortunately) changed, some legacies from the past remain. For us women, it’s still considered better to have a companion because you never know. The era of labeling us as the weaker sex apparently isn’t over yet, though we women are far from weak.

In most of my travels, I’ve rarely felt the need for a companion. Sometimes it happens, and I’m thrilled to share those moments. Yet I have much stronger memories of my solo journeys.

Especially the last bike trip to Chicago. It was my personal project, one of change and self-reflection. I wanted to be with myself because traveling is not just a way to explore the world around us but also a way to discover ourselves better. The best investment one can make.

Traveling solo is much simpler than one might think because everything becomes easier. You set the rules, the breaks, the budget, and the sleeping arrangements. You depend on no one! Maximum freedom. Sure, you miss sharing certain moments with someone, but a solo trip will never really be alone because there will always be wandering souls along the way.

Even fear is an emotion we should never forget to carry. It keeps us alert to potential dangers, but it shouldn’t limit our choices, especially the choice to leave. When we are with ourselves, we understand our limits, what we are made of, and we question many things.

A world opens up in front of a woman traveling solo. Many people will want to meet you, help you, make you feel at home, and invite you to share a meal. The flip side of seeing us as “weak” leads to this. And strong friendships and solidarity will form with other women. When we are alone, a world opens up because our minds are open. Of course, it won’t all be rosy, but even in our daily lives, it never is, right?

I believe that a solo trip should be mandatory at least once in a lifetime, not necessarily for months or many kilometers, but even just for a day, a weekend, a week, or even a few hours.

So, shall we start this chain reaction and normalize the fact that a woman can and should travel alone? Great, open that drawer and look at what’s inside. A dream in a drawer is just a figure of speech, but in reality, that dream should be out and maybe already with you on the saddle.