As a woman travelling alone across the planet there are many things you have to research and put in place to ensure your safety and security. You have to organise your contact points, get your jabs, change your currency, take out insurance and have the right visas ready.
Planning for sexual healthcare while on the road however, is something that hardly anyone considers before a trip and very few people are fully informed on in all the countries they are visiting.
In a country that has different laws and ethics to your own, becoming pregnant, contracting a sexual disease, or losing your contraception is a terrifying prospect that all women should be prepared for, no matter how remote their location.
When Lani Fried looked for information of sexual healthcare before her own trip last year, she realised that there was no place online for all female travellers to research their sexual health options in each country. Realising how much an open database was needed, she decided to create one.
Gynopedia is an online, open-source database giving women access to free sexual and reproductive health care information for popular travel destinations around the world. The resource, which is searchable by major city, outlines where to go for reproductive health care, including gynaecological exams, emergency contraception, STI tests and where to find safe abortion clinics.
"I was driven by the belief that women and all people — no matter their genders — should be able to make decisions about their own bodies."
"I lived in Istanbul for a while a few years back, and I remembered how challenging it was to get a proper STD test there," says Fried. "And not just in Turkey: I have moved to and from a lot of different American cities, and have always had to do way too much research to gain information on what is basic but essential stuff."
Gynopaedia not only presents information, it also allows readers to add to the site, creating a crowd sourced platform of the combined knowledge of all female travellers. The result is a growing home for women all over the planet to share knowledge and find the help they need to have control over their own bodies.
"I'm someone who has been uninsured, in need of health care and lost in cities many times" Fried explains on the site. "There are millions of women who have it much worse — cut off from information and progressive health care, isolated from so many resources."
Although the site started simply as a destination for information, it has quickly become a tool for taking away the taboo around female travellers sex and sexual heath. It's the only site like this in existence and it's a resource we have been sorely needing for a long time.
"When I started it, I was driven by the belief that women and all people — no matter their genders — should be able to make decisions about their own bodies," says Freid.
"Whether they choose to become parents or have an abortion, to use birth control or not, the choice is theirs to make. Women's health decisions shouldn't be a political issue."