In The Guardian recently, Rosita Boland, senior features writer at The Irish Times, wrote about solo travel: “Why is it that a woman travelling alone, as I have often done for months at a time, is perceived to be ‘brave’, whereas men who travel alone are entirely unremarkable? Besides, in my case at least, it’s not true. You are only brave or courageous when you are afraid of something but still do it anyway. I have never been afraid of travelling alone. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t things along the way that cause me deep fear, such as overloaded buses with bald tyres on mountain roads with sheer drops, but being by myself out in the world has never scared me.”
In Elsewhere (Doubleday Ireland), she reflects on journeys from nine different moments in her life, including a particularly hairy one on the grandly (and misleadingly) named Indus Highway in Pakistan:
Before this journey, my fears of travelling on a local bus in Asia had been of ending up under a rockfall, or of the over-loaded bus toppling over, or of our bus crashing in the dark because the headlights weren’t on and some truck had run into us. On this particular bus journey, I realized I had wasted so much energy in the past worrying about the bad things that might happen. They were just possibilities. Whereas this – this ghastly, unprotected vertical drop to the Indus far below – was a reality, just mere inches from the edges of tyres I knew would be bald.
Amanda Bell has reviewed Elsewhere for the Dublin Review of Books.