Meg Jerrard is the co-founder of the Solo Female Travelers Club. She has inspired hundreds of thousands of women around the world to travel solo.
Meg was recently on the Kated Travel Podcast, telling us about overcoming the challenges of solo female travel, and giving listeners practical tips to make their travel dreams a reality.
Her insights are useful not only for women, but also for men looking to encourage their partners, sisters and daughters to be bolder and happier travellers.
Here are a few highlights of Meg’s interview.
Stephen: Why have you founded the Solo Female Travelers Club?
Meg: I was very privileged that my parents brought me up to believe I could do anything — I could go out there, I could travel on my own. It was only since taking over this Facebook group of now 80,000 women who travel solo that I really realized there is a lot of fear out there.
Also, I realized there are a lot of challenges for all the women who want to travel on their own.
So myself and my co-founder Mar started the club to try and inspire women — whether they’re from Afghanistan or from Australia, whether they’re 18 or 87 — to be empowered and travel on their own.
S: What trips did you do that gave you that sense of freedom?
M: On my first holiday in Finland, as an 18 year-old, I hadn’t conceptualized that all of the directions — for instance, to where to pick up my bags — would be in a different language. So I’m standing in the airport and then that culture shock finally hit: “Oh, I am in a foreign country. I am alone. I don’t know this language. I’m going to have to figure this out by myself.”
But I love a challenge. And those are the icebreakers that push you to ask a stranger, “how do I get to the baggage belt?” or “how do I get to this restaurant?” And you connect with new people.
S: Where there countries you travelled to where you felt more acutely the challenges of being a woman travelling on her own?
M: I went the whole route of buying a fake wedding ring when I was traveling solo through Dubai, just because as a female alone, you attract a lot of unwanted attention. But it’s also about having the confidence to keep walking and to not pay attention to the catcalls and the harassment.
Listen to Meg’s full interview on the Kated Travel Podcast.