Women Travel Latin America interviewed Alone Together contributing author Emily Wheeler about her travels through the region and what inspires her to share her stories.
What inspired you to write your story for Alone Together?
As someone who has traveled through Latin America on my own, and currently lives in this region, I have heard time and again that I am brave for being a woman who has embarked on this path. While the attribute of bravery is flattering, the assumption behind it is that it is unusual or unlikely for a woman to backpack on her own, as though a woman must be exceptional in order to travel to unknown places. I have always felt that I am the protagonist of my own story, not an anomaly in someone else’s tale.
By writing my piece, I hoped to share my belief that travelers can go anywhere, regardless of their gender, without the need to justify their actions or be justified by others. I wanted to write a story in which a female protagonist is a traveler in her own right; one who is neither brave nor daring but moves simply because it is what she feels called to do.
Why do you think women should travel Latin America?
Latin America is a part of the world that represents a true mix of people, ideas, cultures, and landscapes. It is a breath-taking region that offers adventures at every corner. A few hours on a bus can mean the difference between wandering through a sweltering jungle and summiting a snow-peaked mountain. By traveling through Latin America, women can explore a diverse and exciting region while discovering their own sense of identity, one step at a time.
What is your best memory of your Latin America adventure, and why?
I was sitting on the edge of a floating lodge on the Amazon River, sipping a morning coffee while the hump of a pink dolphin appeared above the surface, dropped back down, and appeared further upstream. It was the first time that I felt connected to something both prehistoric and modern – when I could feel myself existing, just for a second, in all moments of time.
Describe the region in three words.
Kaleidoscopic, dynamic and evolving.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a trip to Latin America?
Take every path less traveled, and speak to each person you meet along the way. Be open-minded and flexible. Use your discomfort to learn about your values and your expectations of the world. Feel limitless in every adventure on which you embark. Above all, go freely and fearlessly.