Thoughts On Traveling Alone In A Third-World Country

On traveling alone, unlike the girl in the movie “Taken.”

argentina travel alone
PHOTO COURTNEY PRUITT

When I told people in the U.S. I was planning on traveling alone through South America alone, they asked me if I had seen the movie Taken.

If you have seen Taken, then you know that you can’t possibly compare me, a 21-year-old woman currently living abroad in Buenos Aires, to the protagonist Kim, a 17-year-girl, who travels with a friend to Paris and they follow U2 on tour then kidnapped and sold into sex slavery. Disasters began when the two travelers give a cab driver her address.

Fortunately, I haven’t been traveling with no such dumb friend. I’ve been traveling alone through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. Before leaving, my parents attempted to discourage me from traveling alone; they perceived South America as a dangerous place for women to wander around without company.

puerto iganzu argentina waterfall
PHOTO COURTNEY PRUITT

But throughout my trip, I have met plenty of women who were traveling in South America alone, a region still regarded as a “third-world” country. Not only do these women say that they feel safe, one particular woman even hitchhiked her way to Ushuaia, aka: the end of the world. In fact, she considered traveling alone safer since she draws less attention to herself than she would in a group.

Certainly there a places one should avoid in South America. For example, the U.S. government deems rural areas in Colombia unsafe. Ciudad Del Este, Paraguay is considered one of the most dangerous cities because of its notoriety for narco-trafficking and the violence cause by it.

Do your own research before traveling to a country. Talk to people who live there, understand all the risks before you leave, follow your intuition, and then go. Like you would when traveling to anywhere else, “Ten cuidado.”

Article written by Courtney Pruitt.

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