Travelling solo has made for some interesting conversations, interactions and I have met some awesome people. The first thing I get asked by other travellers is whether I have had any issues travelling solo. To be honest I think what you put out is what you get back, and I haven’t had any problems (other than my backpack held for ransom in Athens). I also think that after this amount of time my instincts are pretty good (touch wood). However I do have a list of questions I never want to be asked again…
Are You Married / Where Is Your Husband? (Mexico, Ecuador, Peru)
This is the most-asked question – especially in family-centric countries like Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. I do have a fake wedding ring I can flash to ward off the are you married question, but the best answer to the where is your husband question depends on the circumstance. I have put a lot of time into the best answers…
If I am on a day-tour – then my husband ate something weird last night and is spending the day at the hotel. Such a shame he couldn’t come too!
If I am in a taxi on my way to a bus station or hotel, then I am meeting my husband at my destination as he travelled earlier for work. needless to say, my imaginary husband is tall and built like a rugby player. He is also pretty jealous.
Do You Have Children / Where Are They? (Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru)
If I am having a bad day, then yes, I have 3 children, all under 5 and they are with my imaginary husband, or an equally imaginary nanny at a nice hotel somewhere in town. Otherwise I say no with a small brave smile. No children means that people in family-centric countries will feel really bad for you and this conversation will grind to a quick halt.
Are You Travelling Alone? (Worldwide)
This is especially hard for many locals in different countries to understand. Why would you possibly need/want to travel alone. Depending on the tone of the questioner (curious, disbelieving, horror-struck) I mold my answer accordingly. Generally though, my (imaginary as required) travel companions are also having digestive issues, or just did not want to come today. We are meeting for dinner tonight.
Taxi, Lady? (Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Cuba)
Sometimes it’s not even asked, it’s having every single taxi in the immediate vicinity toot at you and slow down to idle alongside as you walk along the footpath.
This drives me nuts because if I wanted a taxi, wouldn’t I be standing there instead of walking, with my arm up and making eye contact to flag one down? Because I am walking purposely somewhere, I don’t need a taxi. Not all foreigners need to be driven everywhere or are lost.
Boyfriend, Lady? (Cuba)
Seriously? Enough said.