Only once I started traveling on my own, at 18, did I understand that, as Vanessa Veselka says "a man on the road is solitary. A woman on the road is alone. This is not cute wordplay, but a radically different social experience." The mild suspicion of everyone from strangers on trains, to hostel staff, to groups of fellow travelers was first surprising, then irksome, and then wearily anticipated. While I'm sure that, on average, single men meet with far more suspicion than single women, it was made quite clear to me that in this context men were seen as being adventurous, while I was a cause for concern—"a dangerous blank."