Lone traveller – would the fear get in your way?

Travelling the world is the stuff of dreams. Just about every person has at some point envisioned what their perfect getaway would look like, or compiled a bucket-list of places to see before they die.

Some people, like Natasha Murtagh, chose to combine their work aspirations with their wanderlust, and set out on a journey of worldly and self exploration. However, as a woman travelling alone, she faced muggings, assaults and attempted rape, which she detailed in an article in the Irish Times.

As a woman, I can completely relate to Natasha’s experiences. I travelled to Spain last summer to work in the very glamorous promo girl trade, plying drinks and clubs to tourists. While I originally set out with a friend, two became one early on and I was soon working alone with complete strangers in a country I barely knew.

Working in the tourism trade is difficult enough, but adding alcohol to the situation made for a distasteful medley of groping, where sweaty young fellas out for a good night thought that I, along with the drinks, was fully up for grabs.

Every single one of the women I worked with faced some level of sexual assault while working as promo girls, and we were expected to smile and accept it as part of the lads holiday culture, be that crude remarks about our bodies or having men attempt to drag us down alleyways and demand sexual acts from us.

Luckily, we were looked after by our club’s security, and these situations never escalated very far, but the experience of being forced down a side street and having a man attempt to choke me with his bare hands after I told him where to go will certainly stay with me forever.

While victims of rape and sexual assault are almost always female, along with women being 60 per cent more likely to experience criminal harassment, these statistics and stories cannot scare women away from travelling alone. These statistics are from the UK, and these facts are probably as true for a woman walking out of her front door in Dublin City or strolling down a country lane in Guatemala.

You don’t have to travel far to be the victim of sexual harassment. Just head down to Coppers and see how many times your ass gets grabbed by sleazy nineteen year olds, just out for the ride.

Women cannot let the fear of bad people and experiences hold them back from unforgettable, once in a lifetime adventures. The world is always a hybrid of danger and beauty, and positive and negative experiences, and it is the bold endeavours which make life worth living.

Natasha Murtagh finished her article by saying that “there are more good people out there than bad; you just have to watch out for the bad ones,” and that is how I will finish mine, along with saying that travelling alone is one of the most poignant and memorable experiences a person can have, so go for it girls.


Sarah Magliocco

Image credit: Return of Kings

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