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Stop Asking Women Why They Are Traveling AloneWhen I tell people that I travel by myself for work, I am met with mixed responses, from, “Oh, cool!” (the general and normal response to hearing about anyone’s job) to, “WHAT? YOU GO ALONE???” (usually from men! Not all men--but enough of them for it to be a noticeable trend).There are a thousand million reasons a woman (or any person) might choose to travel alone. I, personally, travel by myself frequently for work. I’ve grown to love it, and over the past three years, I’ve become quite content with extended periods of alone time--it’s taught me to truly enjoy my own company and, most importantly, to trust myself in new situations and places.As I went on more frequent solo trips (and posted updates to my personal Instagram account), I noticed a common occurrence: people--sorry, men, it was absolutely always men--asking me very leading questions about how it must feel to travel alone. And if it wasn’t a question, it was a direct statement as to how I must be feeling (i.e. “You must be so lonely being there by yourself!”).This made me think about the politics of being alone. As far as being “uncoupled,” there is a lot of stigma in it for women. Historically, women have been looked down upon by society for being unpartnered. Derogatory terms such as “spinsters,” and “old maids,” are reserved for unwed women of a certain age, while uncoupled older men, on the other hand, are referred to as “bachelors” or, say, “silver foxes.” The framing of these titular discrepancies, though not particularly nefarious, illuminates another lens of patriarchy—one where solitary women are to be pitied or scorned, while men are celebrated.