“Wander Woman” encourages women to explore the world alone

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BOSTON – A Massachusetts business owner is encouraging women to get out and explore the world alone. She has a new book that she hopes will help people change their mindset on travel.

WBZ-TV first caught up with Beth Santos, co-owner of Ula Café, in 2022. The business grabbed our attention with its pay-it-forward board. They are still giving back back to the community.

“The community has really stepped up. We’ve done all sorts of things. We just did a big clothing drive in the winter for all the Haitian migrants that are in town,” Santos said.

Santos’ latest venture has her traveling the world solo and encouraging more women to do the same.

She founded Wanderful, described as a global community of more than 45,000 female travelers who connect, support and learn together.

“The fact that women are treated really differently wherever we go. The gender norm and expectations are across the board different and there’s not really anyone talking to women about that,” Santos said.

Santos’ book “Wander Woman” addresses the growing space of solo female travelers and some of the preconceptions that go along with it.

“I think there’s a lot of fear that we put into women thinking that it’s going to be this horrible experience or the other narrative we tell is like ‘Eat, Pray Love’ – it will be absolutely perfect, nothing will go wrong, you will meet your husband,” Santos said.

Santos also said you don’t need to leave the country to have a fabulous traveling experience.

“Travel consists of three things. Challenging your preconceptions, the way you see the world, trying something new and getting uncomfortable,” Santos said. “And if you can do those things five minutes from your home and you can feel fundamentally uncomfortable and you are trying new things, that is in my opinion better than traveling thousands of miles away and feeling completely unchanged.”

There’s no set age for female solo travelers. People young and old are trying to find the wonders of the world.

“It’s really fascinating to see the young 20-somethings getting out there and then the 70s and even early 80s that are experiencing travel for the first time,” Santos said.

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