Women Travel Latin America interviewed Alone Together author Courtenay Strickland about her travels through the region and what inspires her to share her stories.
What inspired you to write your story for Alone Together?
Sometimes, when we think of traveling alone, we envision being alone… but that’s not always the case. Traveling solo creates space that is often, though not always, filled by experiences with people encountered along the way. Though the experiences themselves may be fleeting, some exert influence for years to come – shaping who you are by becoming an indelible part of where you’ve been. I wanted to capture that with my submission.
Why do you think women should travel Latin America?
Scholar Cheris Kamarae defined feminism as the radical notion that women are people. I see the idea that women should travel Latin America in the same light: everybody should travel Latin America, and women should be in the “everybody” group just like anyone else. However, unfortunately, women travelers must take into account a range of factors like safety that male travelers can often afford to overlook. Given that, I’m happy to be part of encouraging women to consider Latin America as a viable travel destination – because it’s amazing!
What is your best memory of your Latin America adventure, and why?
How to pick? I’ll share a recent adventure from my life here in Medellín, Colombia. My six-year-old son’s best friend chose for her birthday to go to a charco, or natural swimming hole, in the mountains surrounding the city. With my son in the backseat, a friend and I made the curvy two-hour drive. I had no idea what to expect but was enchanted by what I found: a mountain stream descended steep green slopes and then pooled right next to a truck stop and just before a highway bridge. People of all ages, in swimsuits or in jean cut-offs, congregated around the icy-cold water, chatting, drinking beer, taking quick dips, or just lounging in the grass. Young men taught little kids to skip stones; teenagers and young adults took turns leaping off a rickety, makeshift diving platform. Tanker trucks and the occasional man on horseback crossed the bridge. Being there was both relaxing and exhilarating. It was a reminder that sometimes it doesn’t take nearly so much as we think to be happy, if only for a little while.
Describe the region in three words.
Multicultural. Unexpected. Welcoming.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a trip to Latin America?
Do your research, be informed, trust that people everywhere are often kinder and more helpful than the world would have you believe, and go!