Going Solo

I've been playing with the idea of travelling solo for some time now.

I don't know whether it's some kind of pre-30 itch to do something "adventurous" while my body and my senses are working fine or while I do not have children to be responsible for. Or maybe it's just me getting influenced by pretty, happy images of other girls my age on their solo travels on Instagram. Hur hur.

Will forever kick myself for not travelling solo when I was young, single and reckless! Now I'm old, married, conservative and terrified of dying overseas. Haha.

But it's still not too late to dream, right?! I cannot help but keep thinking about it over and over in my head, and it didn't help that while reading this article about Ruth Orkin's American Girl, these paragraphs hit me like bags of bricks:

Back in 1951, Craig was a carefree 23-year-old who had chucked her job in New York and secured third-class accommodations on a ship bound for Europe. She spent more than six months making her way through France, Spain and Italy all by herself — something very few women did in the years following World War II. 

She traveled as inexpensively as she could, so she was thrilled when she found a hotel right on the Arno River in Florence where she could stay for $1 a day. There, she met another adventurous solo female traveler: Ruth Orkin, a 29-year-old photographer who came to Italy after completing an assignment in Israel. 

“She was living from day to day, nickel-and-diming it,” Craig recalled. “We talked about traveling alone and asked each other, ‘Are you having a hard time? Are you ever bothered?’ We both found that we were having a wonderful time, and only some things were a little difficult.”

If these two girls in their 20s had the guts to travel solo to foreign countries shortly after the World War, what exactly is stopping me?

Well... a lot of things actually (I read a lot of missing persons cases as well as true crime and serial killer stories so you can understand where I'm coming from) but I guess hendak seribu daya, tak hendak seribu dalih, kan?

I'm not sure if solo travel will ever happen for me - husband is not keen on the idea but I know I can convince him if I really decide to! - but if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. Got to be thankful for what I've got - at least I've been privileged enough to have travelled with friends and husband on several occasions!

I won't deny that I kind of like the idea of travelling solo to Florence and going to this exact spot near Piazza della Repubblica to recreate Ruth Orkin's American Girl, though. Hehe. This is the iconic image that I'm referring to!

 © 1952, 1980 Ruth Orkin / Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery
(Credit: Stephen Bulger Gallery via Today.com)

Dare I make this something that I need to do before I kick the bucket? I think not, but a girl can dream, right? :D

Also, this picture is not reflective of anything sinister like sexual harassment or whatever so please keep your feminist tits down, people!

I hate that others have brought it upon themselves to declare this image as an "emblem of post-World War II femininity and male chauvinism" when the photographer and subject involved themselves conceived this as "an ode to fun and female adventure". Geez, people. How about you believe the people who were there, and not be misguided by your preconceived notions, please 

Goes to show that people will believe what they want to believe from a single picture without knowing or even caring about the background or context. Scary thought.

You can read more about Ruth Orkin, Ninalee “Jinx” Allen Craig and their two-hour session that resulted in the iconic 'American Girl in Italy' image here , here, here and here. You can also see a colorized version of the image here.

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