Where Are All The Female Explorers?

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Like any person with a love of travel, I don’t get to travel even half as much as I wish I could. Reality. Bills. Being a grown up sucks.

I have ideas. Such ideas and plans I wish I could go and carry out, to walk in others footsteps and to create new footsteps for others to follow. But as a woman, the one thing that truly holds me back is safety. I’m not scared of the weather, of the food, or of roughing it for weeks. Even if money became no object tomorrow and I could up and go wherever I want, I would still have reservations.

Reservations that a man in the same position wouldn’t even have to think twice about. So what brought this on?

Well, I’ve just had three days off.

I can walk.

I own a tent.

I want adventure.

So why did I just not go and explore for a few days? Wild camp on a mountain in Wales? Just step out the door and see how far I could go?

I didn’t because it’s been ingrained in me from a young age that it not safe for me to do so. If a man the same age and physical ability as me had said “right I’m off for a few days” everyone would have wished him well and told him how it’s an amazing, brilliant idea. I long for a world where a girls only concern is the same as that man would have had….

Is it going to rain?

Are there sheep in that field?

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I first travelled solo when I was 18. It was my first flight too. I went to Cyprus, and all people told me was to be safe, be careful. I had a brilliant time. I jumped off boats into the ocean, I ate street food and sat and watched the sunset on the harbour, making friends with what felt like 100 cats. There are places all over the world where it’s safe to be a solo female traveller. And people always tell you that you’ll make friends, that you won’t be on your own too long so you will be safe.

But what if you want to be on your own. What about those extreme adventurers, those who walk through the depths of Patagonia, through jungles and deserts.

A current example of this envy-inducing adventure is Levison Wood. His TV show Walking the Himalayas is currently airing on channel 4. He set off on his own* to walk the entire length of them, to meet the people who live there and to explore.

* I am aware he is not truly alone and uses guides and locals.

Before this, he walked the length of the Nile as well as many other adventures. If I look at some of the situations he got into when walking the Nile, things could have ended very differently if he was a woman. (Even if he was a woman with exactly the same skills and military history.) I don’t even think a woman would have been able to get the visas required to do that expedition in the first place. I understand that some of what holds female travellers back is religion and traditional culture. But if we respect it as we travel why can’t we be safe?

There are some people that have cycled all around the world on their own, with just a support team back home. I’ve read blogs and books about their adventures but once again they are predominantly male. The books written by authors such as Anne Mustoe, Josie Dew and more recently Anna Hughs, are hard to find in bookshops, surrounded by men who have done similar journeys.

It’s the same with nature documentaries. Right now there are 74 documentaries on BBC IPlayer about science and nature. One is by a woman.

Even on platforms such as YouTube, the predominant travel content creators and vloggers are male. Fun for Louis. Ben Brown. Jacks Gap.

Now I must admit that there are female travel YouTubers out there. Brilliant Ones. Sonia’s Travels, Backpacking Bananas and Psycho Traveller to name a few. But they often have much smaller subscriber numbers than their male counterparts. NOT because their content isn’t of the same standard, far from it. It’s just that they are much harder to find than the men are.

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Through researching this post I have found a few more that I will be watching later, but as I said before, in “Top Travel YouTuber” lists and recommendations they are lost behind the men. They also seem to have to create their content in a more female oriented way.

(This is a general overview, I am sorry if I offend  anyone.)

My travel makeup. How to survive with a minimalist wardrobe. My fave bikinis. What I eat in a day.

Whilst this may be by choice, and there definitely is an audience for this, it is still showing a younger more impressionable audience that you have to be pretty all the time, that you have to wear make up and look good in a bikini.Where is the hiking up mountains? The walking through deserts- so dirty haven’t washed in a week- videos?

Where is the hiking up mountains? The walking through deserts- so dirty haven’t washed in a week- videos?

Girls want to watch that too! 

The more there is of that kind of content, the more young girls might gain confidence and want to travel. Then it would become less unheard off.  And as it becomes less of an outlandish motion, maybe our safety could improve.

Now. I could be talking rubbish. Maybe there are lots of these amazing women out there who have undertaken these epic journeys. But if so- why do we not hear about them?

There need to be more VISIBLE female adventurers out there. Little girls need to see these strong capable women so that they too can aspire to take great adventures without being scared. Without it being just a dream.

The expeditions these women have taken need to be televised, to be written about so that they get the attention that they deserve in this seemingly Mans World.

2011 so Far in Part One...

Yep, this is a bit of a random post for me, but I want to start writing about things I am passionate about and this has been a HUGE bee in my bonnet for quite some time.

As I said before, If I have completely missed out anyone on this, or you have some recommendations please let me know. A good friend lent me a book ( which I really need to get back to her) called Unsuitable for Ladies – An Anthology of Women Travellers, which I loved and would love to read more of the same!

Talk Soon!

Amanda xx

P.s – I am perfectly aware this is not a Monday Look Back – But as I have done absolutely nothing this week apart from work and watch films, I had nothing to write about.

 

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2 thoughts on “Where Are All The Female Explorers?

  1. oh man do i ever get ya. I still get nervous travelling alone, just around american and canadian cities!! the What If factor goes up when you’re a woman, and it’s irritating as fuck. Lately I just make sure I’m armed with something and have my cell. But still, why can’t it be just as safe and normal for a woman to travel alone? Why can’t I explore things by myself, and look fugly doing it, and NOT get attacked by some psycho?
    I think I just have to start doing it more. Go off and do it. Get used to it. Make it just as routine as every other aspect of my life so it will no longer be as surprising or taboo or weird or whatever everyone else thinks it is.
    grr.
    yeah. so I have some time off right now (not fun time but time) so maybe i’ll check out some of these women travellor videos 😀

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