"That's good, I've got lots of ideas for a solo female traveller like you!"
If even Santa Claus supports female travellers... Frankly, there's no reason left for you to hesitate any longer to embark on the adventure.
He then guided me through his incredible workshop to show me all the gifts he had designed exclusively for female adventurers.
Gift n°1 for a female solo traveller: a trip around the world in a single book
"You may be a true adventurer but I'm sure you haven't seen yet all the world has to offer, have you?
This guide, published by the famous Lonely Planet guide, lists 220 destinations around the globe. That's almost 1600 must-see places on our good old planet. You'll also find 770 photos to give you a better idea of all these wonders.
If you ask me, it's a must for a female solo traveller: it gives you thousands of ideas for your next trip.
In any case, with this book, you are sure to have an overview of all the countries of the world... And frankly, the Lonely Planet team makes very good guides. With them, you are sure to get useful and authentic information."
I took the book in my hands and I can tell you that it's really huge...
Although I certainly can't visit everything, this guide would allow me to learn more about all the hidden beauties of the world.
But Santa Claus was already on his way to another stall!
Gift n°2: an unlimited Pass to meet trustworthy female hosts around the world
"I imagine that being a female solo traveller can be a risk when you know that, unfortunately, women are subject to more dangers. I remember discussing with Sylvie about her couchsurfing experience that went wrong, I found it aberrant!"
Yes, Santa Claus is a feminist.
He later confessed to me that he took part in some demonstrations to defend women's rights around the world... But never on Christmas Eve of course!
“What about a safe couchsurfing platform for women? This is what offers SisterHome, a company founded by Christina, whom I know very well... A Taiwanese woman whose mission is women empowerment through solo travels. Noble cause, isn't it?
So you can buy a Pass on their website, which gives you access, for one year, to the addresses of thousands of solidary female hosts around the world. That way, you can travel with peace of mind and be welcomed by a caring woman. A committed initiative that I find remarkable".
It's true that there are inspiring women, who accept to host women in their house to offer them a warm home during their adventure... There should be more superheros like them!
In addition, Santa Claus explained to me that you could also buy a Pass as a present for someone close to you.
This would help a lot of women take flight and become female solo travellers!
I have noticed that Santa Claus is a very cheerful person. He runs from one corner of his factory to the other under the dismayed gaze of his elves (who do not like to be disturbed in the middle of their work…)
"Wait, I have another idea for you! What do you think of a universal conversation guide? What do they call it... Ah, here it is: Universal Communicator."
He handed me the book, which I quickly flipped through while he explained what it’s for.
"It's a guide published by the Ulysses. They have listed almost a hundred pages of useful illustrations for a female solo traveller.
That way, when you have trouble making yourself understood by a local, you can show him a picture to express what you're looking for. If something unexpected happens during your trip, this guide can save you!
You'll find illustrations for transport, accommodation, food and way more.
Frankly, if you hesitate to go abroad because of the language barrier, this gift can come in handy".
I was about to tell him that I found this idea as amusing as it was useful when he rushed to get a new gift.
I have learned that Santa Claud is not only feminist but also eco-friendly.
He is concerned about the planet and notices from Lapland how global warming is affecting the quality of the snow around his house.
"The problem is that traveling pollutes a lot, which is the last straw: we travel to discover the planet but we hurt it...
So why not buy reusable products?
For example, for meals, instead of using plastic, you can think of a cloth napkin to slip your sandwich into. There are some very nice ones, I have some myself when I go on expeditions around the world.
It's the same with plastic bottles... I've been investing in a foldable water bottle for a long time. It's very practical: it's reusable and when it's empty, instead of taking up unnecessary space, I fold it up and put it away.
I also always carry reusable transport cutlery with me at all times. That way, I can enjoy all the meals that are left at the foot of the Christmas tree when I bring presents."
Where to find these reusable food containers?
On the Etsy platform, which showcases the creativity of local craftsmen and second-hand products in a responsible and sustainable way.
"It's not only the plastic of food that pollutes when we travel: shower gels, shampoos... All of this has a serious impact.
My wife often accompanies me on my travels, since I took the quiz to find out who my ideal travel friend is. So I offered her solid shampoos and soaps. It takes up a lot less space in her things, but on top of that, there's no plastic waste from the bottle! Also, her hair looks even better now that she doesn't put toxic products on her head anymore."
Santa Claus is very enthusiastic when it comes to hygiene products, I didn't expect his other idea:
"You're a female solo traveller: so what do you do when you have your period? Because I had a great idea: menstrual underwears, washable sanitary pads, or even the moon cup! That way, less toxic products for you, less waste on the planet, and a lot of space saved for your solo trips."
Hygiene when travelling rhymes with sustainability!
"A TRAVEL NOTEBOOK, that's quite an idea for a female solo traveller!
Because personally, the photos, phones and company, I’ve never appreciated them. I prefer to take notes, every night, of my memories and emotions of the day... It leaves a trace of your experience: you write down what you lived.
I find that there is nothing stronger than rereading your old texts years later, when your memory starts to weaken.
A notebook is not just a collection of paper sheets: it is the support of your memories, like the key to your secret garden.
I'm sorry, I sometimes get carried away by impulses of poetry.”
But Father Christmas is right. Taking the time to write down a few anecdotes of your day is the best way to keep the memory alive... Like a written trace of a past that belongs only to you.
Where to find a travel notebook?
The various bookshops and papermakers offer them in their shops.
You can buy pre-designed ones on l’Avant Gardiste, or you can compose one yourself according to the needs of the solo traveller to whom you plan to give it.
Gift n°8: a suitcase organizer
Santa knows all about luggage storage: he has millions of bags to prepare before he goes on a trip every year. No wonder he knows Sylvie so well: she had to share her advice for a 7kg backpack with him!
"The secret is to compartmentalise your belongings well.
You find foldable bags where you can put different contents: one for your socks, another for your jumpers... And that way, when you organize your suitcase, you can simply stack the bags next to each other.
When you're looking for a specific object, like a t-shirt for example, just pull out the t-shirt box instead of turning everything upside down!
It's like this great hanging toiletry bag... It's very well compartmentalised and when you open it, nothing falls out. Just hang it on a piece of the wall and you're done! That's the true magic of Christmas!"
I thought of all the times when my toilet bag didn't have a place in the bathroom... I had to empty it every time on the bed just to find my toothbrush.
With this system, I was sure I would never get into trouble again.
As the concept is still new, you can find these cards on the website of the Palomar brand, an Italian design company based in Florence.
Gift n°10 : a washing machine bag
(picture taken from: https://thescrubba.com/collections/all)
I saw four elves discussing a new invention: a green bag.
Each one had a computer open to complex mathematical formulas...
I didn't understand their calculations, however, Santa Claus explained their idea to me.
"It is a take away washing machine! It's actually a small bag that you can bring everywhere with you. All you have to do is put your dirty laundry in it, a bit of soap - if it's solid it's even better! - and some water before rubbing one side against the other of the bag.
Your laundry will be washed and clean. No need to spend your savings on a washing machine, or to look for a town when you had planned to travel to the countryside. With this bag, you can be sure you can camp wherever you want without having to worry about the laundry...
Plus, if you think about it, you can even take fewer clothes with you.
I'm proud of my elves, they really don't lack creativity."
It was with slight emotion that Santa watched his little elves debating around their meeting table.
I had no idea that his workshop looked so much like a company!
Where to find a washing machine bag?
Directly from the web site of the brand selling it: Scrubba.
"Well, if with all these ideas you still don't know what present you want to get, I can't do anything for you..."
We were back in Santa's living room.
I told him that I didn't care about the gift: I had many more questions to ask him, to understand how he had managed to hide from the world for so long, how he was only able to cross the globe in a single night...
The smile with which he answered me will remain engraved in my memory for a long time.
"I can't give you an answer, because the very principle of Christmas magic is wonder. How could you still be amazed if you learned all my secrets?"