Traveling as a young woman 

Traveling can be exciting as well as stressful. Read more about how Rory Monaco is getting ready to travel. Illustration by Sarah Chantres/Daily Campus.

I picked up a map of the country today. I jokingly told my dad the other day how I would never have survived navigating my way around without the GPS on my phone. He and I were hiking through the woods, using a trail guide he downloaded on his phone, and he asked “Well, how do you think I got around?” I don’t know — maps?  

I’m road-tripping across the country two weeks after graduation. I’ll be packing my belongings into my little ol’ Chevy Malibu and start racking up the miles as I drive from small town Connecticut to a farm in Southern California. Looking at the map, I ran a blue pen from Storrs, Conn. to Santa Barbara, Calif. There are so many avenues I could take; Should I detour in Utah? Spend some time sitting in the silent beauty of the red rocks? I’ve never been to Kansas before. What will it be like to stand barefoot in the soil, feeling the Earth beneath me? To know that even here, far from where I came from, the ground will hold me up.  

As much as I spend my time these days daydreaming about how extraordinary this adventure will be, I’m preparing myself in equal measure for the potential dangers of cross-country traveling as a young woman. My dad and I have already devised multiple plans: he will have my location the entire time as well as my itinerary and my graduation gift will include pepper spray and a Swiss Army knife.  

Traveling as a young woman entails extra cautionary steps to be taken. Despite the excruciating heartbreak that comes with thinking of the dangers that female-identifying people face when traveling, this article is to spread the word on how reasonable and accessible it is — given the risks — to travel as a young woman.  

Perhaps there needs to be some sense of naivete to dive into this. I’m certainly not going to look up the statistics of violence against women in all the states I’ll be visiting; I think I am better off not knowing. I have been kickboxing for the past five years and will personally lean into that side of myself as I cross state lines.  

So, how will I be traveling, and how can I afford to while also making money? As most people in my life know, I am a farmer. I am a resident of UConn’s Spring Valley Student Farm and am sad to walk away from such a magical place in May. It helps, however, that I will be walking toward another farm. I found this new one through WWOOF, the Worldwide Organization of Organic Farms. It’s a resource that I don’t think gets enough attention, but is such an incredible tool for anyone to use. In exchange for 25-30 hours of farmwork a week, a farm offers free housing and often provides meals as well. So not only is it a chance to get your hands dirty, but it’s an opportunity to explore a new state!  

The farms I’m going to, so far, are in California and Hawaii. However, there are farms registered with WWOOF across the globe. I have friends who are currently looking for a WWOOF-registered farm in Italy this year as a way to visit Europe in a cost-efficient way!  

I picked up the map today and created what now looks like dozens of bullseyes with my red pen, trying to find some way to connect them all with the blue pen. WWOOF allows so many roads to be travelled. There are so many places to visit. It’s wonderful, knowing I will have more opportunities to visit them outside of this one road trip. It’s empowering, knowing that all I need for this adventure are my own two legs and the Chevy driving me there.  

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