Women Who Wander

Website targets stigma of women traveling solo

Jennifer Heuett gazes out at Crater Lake

From journalist Nellie Bly’s 1890 trip around the world in 72 days to Cheryl Strayed’s 1,100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995, women have been destroying the stigma of female solo travel for more than 100 years.

Although there’s always some risk to traveling (as there is to getting in your car to drive to the airport), the idea that women shouldn’t travel alone is just plain antiquated.

Another solo traveler, Jennifer Heuett, recently created Travel + Trust & Wanderlust, a website dedicated to helping women who want to travel solo.

Heuett has been traveling on and off for the past 12 years. She embarked on her first solo trip four years ago, when she moved to New Zealand and ended up staying for three years. Heuett was inspired to create the website in April, when her grandmother broke her tailbone and Heuett drove alone to her hometown of Boise, Idaho.

“There’s women out there that would never road trip by themselves, that would never go six hours by themselves, and I’m not okay with that,” she says. “I want to break these stereotypes; I want to break these barriers that women traveling solo is dangerous.”

The website went live only a month ago, but already Heuett has received positive feedback. She kicked off the site with a social movement planned for Oct. 3 — the Day of Trust, where women pledge on the website to go out and do something new by themselves, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.

“It’s about expanding your mind, expanding your bubble and having a new experience by yourself,” Heuett says.

In addition to social media campaigns like the Day of Trust, the website will provide giveaways and guides for women to start planning their solo trips. Heuett will provide safety tips and hints about how to travel cheaply.

Travel + Trust also has Wanderlust Advocates, four women — including two from the University of Oregon — who will write about their travel experiences and help with the site’s social media.

UO student Bridget Coleman is one such advocate, and she says she would not feel fulfilled without travel in her life. “Traveling gives you perspective, and as a woman, it gives you power that you can use to take on anything that the world may present you.”

Heuett says, “My biggest goal is to make this a worldwide community where women can come here and feel empowered and inspired to travel solo and get that vital information they need to do so.”

She also believes that solo travel is important for women because they spend so much time caring about others.

“Women are huge multitaskers, regardless if they’re married or not or have kids,” Heuett says. “I feel like we take on a lot, and with traveling solo — you have that freedom; you gain confidence; you find little pieces of yourself that you never knew existed. You come out a better person.”

For more information, check out traveltrustwanderlust.com.

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