I am one of those people who are happiest when they are exploring. Whether it is a flea market in London, a bazaar in Marrakech or a thrift shop in NYC my eyes light up at the chance to savor the local culture. My love of exploration goes hand in hand with my love of travel. What can I say? I am an Italian girl with just a little bit of Marco Polo running through her veins. Traveling has opened my mind in ways I did not know was possible. I hail from a smallish town in Italy called Verona (yes, Verona of Romeo & Juliet fame) and as quaint and beautiful as it is, many of its citizens have not seen much of Italy, much less the world. I wanted to break that mold and couldn’t be happier that my career as a designer, writer and culture consultant has afforded me the opportunity to see places that otherwise would be merely dreams. As the frequent flier miles and passport stamps add up, I have recently started to think of my unique position as a female traveler. This is not to say that women don’t travel. Just the opposite. Women blaze all types of trails and traveling is no different. But I often find myself off the beaten path and while being solo can be awesome, it can also be unsettling. There are realities like theft, assault and worse that can deter women from diverse travel. The reality is women travel alone less frequently than men, as they might not feel comfortable from a safety perspective. As a result, their travel choices might skew toward resort destinations rather than more adventurous choices. I would like to see a travel industry that gears a wider range of options toward women who are seeking to leave the beach chairs behind and get their hands a little dirty! Factoring in the unique needs of such a vital customer base is a smart business decision for a worldwide travel business estimated at well over $1 Trillion dollars when one includes business and leisure travel. I’d like to hear from all you intrepid solo female travelers. What are some of the things you have encountered when “traveling while female”?