Trust Betrayed – The Sometimes Suckiness of Female Solo Travel

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

“Changing cultures, changing ways, meeting new people
Assuming the best of them, but sometimes finding something less.
A moment, a wrong assumption, a slip of the hand
Trust betrayed, feelings a mess.”

Heather Markel, June 2019.

 

I’m very lucky and perhaps also smart and prudent. I’ve been solo traveling the world since January 31, 2018. In all that time I haven’t had any bad experiences, until now. I’ve made countless friends who work in, or own, the lodging I’m staying in. We’ve enjoyed conversation, food, drinks and remain in touch. So, my recent experience shocked me. I’m sharing it especially for the other female solo travelers out there who might be dealing with their own difficult stories or who want to avoid having a bad one.

I stayed in a small hostel-hotel recently in a small town in Argentina. The owner was lovely. He made me feel welcome and offered me coffee. We chatted. My first night he insisted I eat the delicious fish empanadas that his colleague had made and enjoy a glass of wine with them. He even invited some female travelers I met to join us for wine another evening and the four of us had a lovely time. So, it was with delight that, on my next-to-last night at the hotel, I accepted the owner’s offer to cook dinner for me and one of his staff and then have a quick drink down the street. I was careful with how much I drank the entire time at the hotel because my intuition told me not to let my guard down. I’m so grateful I listened.

“Always listen to your intuition.”

After a short while, the owner and his employee walked me back to the hotel. I felt protected and appreciated them making sure I got back ok even though it was not late and this town is one of the safest I could imagine. That’s when things went awry. Or, at the very least, my presumption they were protecting me.

When we got to my room door the staff member said goodnight, quickly, and walked to his room. Before I knew what was happening, the owner began kissing me and tried to force his way into my room. Luckily I was able to push him away, state clearly I didn’t want him, close the door and lock it. I wanted to throw up. I was disgusted. He is the owner of a hotel. His job is to keep me safe, and I felt completely violated. But this was not the scariest part. I got ready for bed and jumped under the covers. A few minutes later, someone turned the handle of my room door and tried to get in. I presume it was the hotel owner. I held the blankets over me, relieved he didn’t have another key or try to break the windows. Who does such a thing to their hotel guests??!! When I saw him the next evening, he acted like nothing had happened, and actually invited me to have dinner and wine with him again! I declined and left early the following morning to avoid ever seeing him again.
The experience left me feeling violated and vulnerable. I began to doubt myself. Should I never again trust a seemingly nice man? Was I an idiot to go to a bar with two men and believe they would treat me with respect? I have decided that, at least in South America, I won’t be accepting any further evening invitations from any men unless, of course, I am interested in them. Seems that if you are alone here, the mere act of dining or having a drink with a man, even with other people there, runs the risk of making him think you want to have sex with him. If you solo travel in South America be aware that there is sometimes a cultural bias in this regard.

Despite this unfortunate incident, I always try to see the good with  the bad. Because I needed to feel safe in the next town, I booked myself into a “luxury” hotel (multiple floors, elevator, more than one person at reception) right in the center of town. On the way back to my “luxury” hotel one evening I stopped across the street. I was so happy that I chose this hotel. It was perfectly located. I felt safe in it and around it. It was inexpensive and the staff lovely. I realized, ironically, this bad experience pushed me to love my choices, and notice that I did. It has also pushed me to be very clear with my boundaries, another excellent lesson, and luckily one learned without too much pain. And so I see that within the hardship was a gift.

If you are a female solo traveler, check out my tips to stay safe.

Learn about Heather and what set her on her world journey. She also explains why this life is not just for Millenials, it’s for anyone that wants to create a life around what they love most in life. 

Listen to an episode of the video interview series that will inspire you to follow your heart. Whether you want to travel full time or have another calling, this series is for you.

See the amazing people I’ve been meeting on my travels and the fun stories that go along with the meetings.

Check out my travel photos from around the world to see the world from wherever you are.

If you’ve been thinking that there’s got to be  more to life than work, or, you’ve lost your job, and wonder whether now is the time to do something you’re more excited about, this quiz will help you. Answer a few questions and get a free guide to help you know the areas you need to work on, followed up with inspirational and helpful tips to put your dreams into action.

Traveling the world full-time may sound glamorous and exhilirating. (In many ways, it is!) But, it’s not full-time fun. Before you decide to go, take this quiz to make sure you’re ready, and, if not, find out how to bridge the gaps.

This fun quiz helps you understand what your travel personality is, and how to make sure you indulge it when planning your next trip to maximize your enjoyment!

This one is pure fun – test your transcontinental travel trivia knowledge. Hit the button below if you dare take the quiz and see your score! 

If you enjoyed the first quiz, see how you do on the second one! More fun, more tricks, Click the button below to test your knowledge!

If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.

I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.

Africa

Argentina

Brazil

Cambodia

Chile

Costa Rica

France

New Zealand

Peru

Portugal

Scotland

Thailand

Uruguay

Vietnam

 

Want more in-depth information about travel? Trying to figure out how to afford full-time travel (or, doing what you want to do, full-time)? Check out these items!

Looking for a photo or a travel-related item to reconnect with the spirit of travel? Check out this page to see some of my photos and where you can find them as prints and various photo-gifts..

Trying to create a more fulfilling life? Want help with planning out how to make your mark in the world? Check out this page to see how Heather can help you!

14 + 3 =

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
%d bloggers like this: