I got the inspiration for this article at Berlin Airport, where I got approached by some random guy that firstly declared his love for me at the ticket machine – how romantic! – then proceeded to follow me claiming he wanted to “lick my brains to Cotton Eye Joe” – could he have picked a worse song to lick my brains to?

It may be fair to say that I do attract the unconventional type, but that’s just damn crazy! It did make me think though, that female solo travellers can be completely misunderstood. So, as we see the close of International Women’s Month, I wanted to set the record straight.

Here are 10 things you should know about female solo travellers.

1. We may be alone, but we are not vulnerable.

If we were that vulnerable, do you think we would be travelling half way across the world, away from our homes and comfort zones? Yes, our friends from home are far away. But we’re solo travellers, we have friends everywhere in the world.

And we may be smaller than you, but we have just carried this humongous bag around for weeks. Damn right, we’re strong!

2. Travelling solo doesn’t mean we’re single.

Granted, I have never traveled alone while I was in a relationship, but I have met so many fellow travelers who were in a solid, long term relationships. If anything, the distance and the experiences just seem to make couples even stronger.

What it also doesn’t mean is that we are here alone for THAT reason. While in Thailand, I got offered a “job” by a Scottish guy in a bar that pretty much involved going home with him. Nice! That creep even bit me on the shoulder, claiming I was “so edible”… Yeah, you can do one! I am lucky this type of insistent chatting up only happened a few times – and the biting only once! But it’s really tedious.

3. We’re interested in your story, not your stories.

What do I mean by this? Let me explain with an example.

So, a friend of mine was waiting for me at a café in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and by the time I arrived to meet her, she had struck up a conversation with a British guy, having a homeland in common. We carried on chatting when I sat down. Where are you from, what’s your story. Yep, we’re on board with making friends… Until “the stories”: a completely pointless list of his exploits and achievements with women in the past few days. I guess we’re supposed to be impressed? We’re not! So, be yourselves and we’re more likely to open up.

4. You snore REALLY loud (Of course, not all of you, but many of you!)

When booking hostels, I always try to choose female-only dorms. But as I tend to finalise my plans at the last minute, I often end up in mixed ones. And anytime I do, I GET NO SLEEP! Yes, because of your snoring!

The absolute worst example of this happened in Tokyo last summer. I get to my hostel room, where only a young American girl is staying. We chat and decide to go out for a while. Our room is still empty when we get back, so after being awake for more than 48 hours, I fall asleep quite easily… until I am woken up at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning by the sound of aircrafts taking off… Oh no, wait! It’s our new room mate who arrived in the night. Nice guy it turned out but how much did I hate him every night!

5. We’re wearing shorts because it’s hot.

Have you also noticed that we are wearing virtually no make-up or accessories either and that our hair is pulled back is a messy bun (and not that beautiful red carpet Nicky Clarke messy bun, the one that’s messy because we can’t carry all our beauty products with us and because straighteners are pointless in tropical weather)…

Yes, we are happy that we are tanned but we are not trying to attract attention by the way we dress. These shorts, that short summer dress, that halter neck… It’s practical!

6. Yes, you can ask us if we need help carrying our luggage.

No, I am not contradicting my first point here. We are not vulnerable and we are capable of carrying this heavy bag BUT… sometimes we struggle a bit and it’s nice to get help.

I believe there are two reasons why men don’t ask us if we need help. The first one is they are fearful of appearing creepy and making us nervous and the second is the fear of being rejected with an aggressive female equality brush off.

The first one is considerate but unjustified and the second one simply unjustified.

So, take it from someone who carried their ridiculously heavy suitcase down the 54 million steps of Osaka train station, we are not freaked out or offended by someone offering their help! And while I am here, thank you to all the men that helped me carry said suitcase on other parts of my trip.

7. We are travelling solo through choice, not because we are friendless.

Until last year, I had no idea of how exciting solo traveling could be. I admired solo travelers for their confidence, but I always wondered if they were bored, lonely, longing for company.

But then I discovered the freedom which comes with solo travelling. You owe nothing to anyone and if you want company, it’s easy enough to find. I didn’t realise exactly how easy. So, not only do we have friends back home, but we also have many new friends we have made since taking off.

8. Don’t take it personally if we reject your company.

When travelling solo, our social life becomes so much more intense. Where we see our friends on a sporadic basis at home, when traveling, we are almost never alone. Sometimes, we need a break from our newly created social scene and we want to just sit at that café or bar, taking in the sights and sounds alone with our own thoughts.

9. We don’t see the world as a dangerous place.

But we know how to look after ourselves. The street smarts we have at home, well guess what? They are directly transferable to the rest of the world. We know when things don’t feel quite right but we also know when we are safe… and that’s most of the time. Maybe we pay a bit more attention to signs than we would in the comfort of our own city, but we travel the world because we love the world. And would we really love it so much if it was that dangerous?

10. We have an unconditional sense of solidarity

There seems to be this unwritten rule that wherever we are, as female solo travellers, we are here for each other. Whether we become friends for the day or friends for life, we support each other unconditionally. Usually, within minutes of meeting, one of us has already offered help in one way or another. Whether it’s company to go to this really cool bar, tips on where to eat or save money, linking to someone we know in the next destination… We know how to look after each other.

So, men, I know it probably sounds like I am having a massive go at you all!

But rest assured, we definitely enjoy meeting you, chatting to you and becoming friends with you. But forget all of your misconceptions right now! We’re strong and surrounded by friends and we like you to be yourself.

Also, can I ask that on your next trip, maybe, you bring with you some anti-snoring strips… please, pretty please?

And to all my fellow female solo travellers out there: is there anything else you think we need to let men know?

This post was written by Sarah @ TheUnconventionalGrasshopper.com