All that 33-year-old Sarai Sierra's family wants is their mother/sister/wife/daughter back. The young New York-based photographer went to Turkey by herself to take photos after a friend backed out at the last minute.
The three-week trip was supposed to end on the 22nd, but when her husband went to the airport to meet her, she wasn't there. All that was left in her hotel room were her passport, some chargers, and personal items.
So what happened to the mother of two pre-teens? And now, is this going to become a warning for all women who wish to travel alone? Are people going to say she asked for something like this?
The reality is, for a woman traveling alone, it's already a scary endeavor. As a young woman, I lived in both Italy and England and I did a lot of traveling while I was abroad. It was a great experience, but I was mostly with someone.
The few times I did travel alone, it was always a bit nerve-wracking. Anything can happen when you are far from home and you have to be extra careful to pay attention to your surroundings. I was lucky and returned home safely.
Even so, I wouldn't trade it for the world. As frightening as the concept might be to some, a woman traveling alone is one of the best, most freeing experiences of her life.
No one knows what happened to Sierra and this story is scary and tragic for her loving family. Her two sons haven't even been told their mom is missing.
My heart breaks for them. I hope this story will not be used as a cautionary tale, though. This is a rare case, which is why it's being so heavily reported. Let's all hope that Sierra is found soon, alive and (hopefully) able to return home with her family.
Does traveling alone scare you?
Image via eva.jane/Flickr