5 Struggles I Encounter as a MALE Solo Traveller

5 Struggles I Encounter as a MALE Solo Traveller

We have our issues too!

Do men or women have it easier when travelling? While I don’t entirely know how it’s like for my female counterparts, us male travellers also have our fair share of struggles that are often passed over because of how we are biologically. For the other, issues like harassment or being looked down on, among several things, are something that’s been a struggle for many, many years. How about men? Based on personal experiences, here are a few struggles I encounter as a male solo traveller that some of us may actually relate to.

Also read: 6 Things You Will Experience When You Travel Solo – Written After 18 Months on the Road

1. Being considered more physically capable

Whenever I travel locally or abroad, I still encounter people who overestimate my abilities just because I’m a guy. Get this, though. I only stand at 5’6 ft and have a generally smaller build for guys my age. Still, even those aren’t enough to convey the idea that I simply can’t do certain things that others in my gender are capable of doing. When I volunteered at a hostel in a Southeast Asian country, for example, I was assigned jobs that had to do with manual labour such as lifting huge pieces of wood and plumbing.

While I found both jobs rewarding (salute to every construction worker and plumber out there!), I didn’t appreciate the fact that my fellow female volunteers at the time, who apparently did more workouts than I ever have, were immediately assigned less physically demanding tasks like managing the reception.

2. Being seen as untrustworthy

Men are generally considered more violent or more likely to do any form of crimes, as a lot of research-founded studies have revealed. It’s so evident that when I travel, I constantly see people being more cautious when around men than they are when around women, whatever their gender.

We could wear the most presentable clothes we have and look as harmless as possible, and still get an unfriendly treatment from strangers when walking on the streets or in crowded areas. I learned to shrug those moments off in time. However, I do have to admit that it’s a struggle I still deal with both in the Philippines and abroad.

3. Being expected to be more outspoken

Doesn’t it suck that us males often have to be thrown roles that have to do with being more aggressive and outspoken, as well as being more protective of the other gender in most situations? I’m fortunate not to have been involved in anything as absurd as a street fight or anything worse, but there were times when I definitely got close to being in one.

As a laid-back person, being relatively passive in high-tempered situations is a solution I’m often most comfortable with. But as a “real man”, doing so automatically tags me as unmanly and a coward. Even when I’m in a group with more females in it, there’s an unspoken understanding that I have to be the one who has to step up. Otherwise, I’ll be considered lazy or someone who doesn’t care about anything at all but himself.

4. Being presumed as a heavy eater

I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, but I’m often offered way more food that I can take when I stay in local homes. Sometimes it gets to a point where I’m actually forced into finishing something because of the notion that men tend to eat more or need to eat more than women. A familiar case was when I was staying in another Southeast Asian country, where my host would not allow me to leave the dining table until I’d finished every single food on the table, just because I was the only male in the house.

“But you’re a boy”, I remember her saying to me. I would have considered it fine if I was merely being offered, but to actually be forced to eat more when I was already incredibly full, even sick from eating too much, was obviously something else.

5. Being questioned about my sexuality

As much as I hate it, there are still places around the world where there’s a clear distinction of how men ought to behave versus women. In the same country above where I also happened to teach English as a volunteer, I lived in a homestay with more than 20 local young adults. This meant that there was a certain sharing of house duties among both locals and foreign guests.

Being someone who’s used to washing dishes or tidying the table after eating, I was instantly judged by the locals for doing the same thing in the homestay, instead of looking at it as me simply trying to help out. Again, I just brushed it off (but then ranted later on to my friends in the Philippines) because I was in no position at the time to question how they did things domestically, no matter how questionable they seemed to me.

Also read: 8 Misconceptions About Filipinos You Wish Would Just Stop

Some people may raise their eyebrows at me for complaining when females or other travellers face more serious issues when on a trip. But it doesn’t make my experiences any less debatable, does it? To all male, female or any other travellers who often have to deal with a particular struggle when travelling, don’t let it stop you. Here’s to having more stress-free and stereotype-free travel experiences!

About Author

Joser Ferreras
Joser Ferreras

Joser is a researcher-turned-writer who likes to consider himself as a “modern-day Spartan” by taking his time and crafting his own adventures while travelling. Born and raised in the province, he has a natural liking for raw experiences and long, long walks on paved roads and rocky trails. Indoors, he's usually seen in front of his laptop, a.k.a. “Kenny”, managing social media pages, writing scripts and articles, or watching videos and reconnecting with friends.

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