Three times, in the last three summers, I have been assaulted verbally and physically in three different cities. Once in Chinatown, New York, once in Montreal, Quebec, and finally last night in Toronto. At approximately 10:30pm, I was accosted by two men near the Harbourfront (a very familiar, very regular route for me). All three are triggering moments, that were fleeting and alarmingly violating. Despite having travelled to countless destinations in groups and solo…I’m petrified about the prospect of having to go through this again. Can we open up the dialogue now about being an entrepreneurial, female, potentially solo traveller?

I have a certain creative aesthetic and penchant for (over)sharing when it comes to my social media content. While my life looks curated, edited, and distributed methodically, it doesn’t stop painful moments, emotional wounds, or the basic human experience of vulnerability. I feel fragile when I’m approached by any foreign person on the street, and am very aware of my personal space in any given city. These personal boundaries differ by cultural norms, and we need to adjust constantly and accordingly.

Feel what you need to feel

Often times, these moments pass us so quickly that it’s hard to have a reaction. We’re smothered in shock, taken with anger, and we can fixate on what could have been different. Let yourself truly feel, digest, and process the information before moving on too quickly.

Photo by Darius Bashar

Find your safe place, and be comfortable in being alone.

Your comfort level signals something to the outside world. We individually radiate energy that tells other people whether or not we feel at peace with ourselves, or if we’re uncomfortable / insecure with our surroundings. The feeling of being at home, starts in yourself. Embrace it, share it, savour it. Find a safe place to take comfort and reset your emotions.

Seek help

In almost all of these scenarios, I’ve been able to turn to my best friend. My methodical mind felt the need to unpack everything with a long overdue conversation with someone objective. Find therapy in journaling, friends, or professional sources like a counsellor or hotline.

Photography by Jodianne Beckford

Set your Intentions.

One of the best things I could have done within 24 hours was look inward, and meet with someone that nourishes my soul. Brigitte messaged me early morning to grab a coffee and set five intentions. Writing and sharing them with someone who has a genuine interest in my well being felt liberating. While personal in nature, I hope that posting these will help you create your own:

  1. I am working on my mental wellness and authentic being
  2. I am funnelling my anxious energy into creative writing that helps people
  3. I am creating a clear and peaceful space for myself
  4. I wholeheartedly believe in attracting positive people and energy into my daily life
  5. I am surprised and delighted at the opportunities that show up in my inbox

Take Precautions

I’m about to head out on a trip to Spain, Croatia, and one night in Italy. We’ll be a group of three women, coming from three different cities, at three different landing times. While all experienced travellers, our little assembly will have moments requiring a level of alertness and solitude. I’m planning on documenting my flight route and sharing it with people at home, while having access to data / communications while abroad.

Wherever you are, whoever you are, know that you are loved, you are worthy, and you are brave.

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain

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