Mittwoch, 27. April 2016

Travelling as a woman

"What???? You're going to Africa/India/... alooooone?? Are you crazy?!" countless times I've heard these words. Or just simply: "Isn't that dangerous??"

Once for all: it's not.
It can be.
What the hell are you thinking?!

Travelling alone is always a question of personal preferences. Some hate it - some love it.

The girl question is another one.
Yes, it can be annoying. Maybe even dangerous (but let's be honest, it CAN be dangerous everywhere for everybody, right...?). But as long as you feel comfortable, where's the big deal?
I don't get it. It's not that there are men behind every bush or tree, waiting to jump on a single lady. Yes, sometimes they will try to speak to you. Sometimes it gets so pushy that you can't even read a book (I once paddled out with my surfboard and a book to a calm spot just because I really wanted to read and the only place I could do that was on the water...). But honestly, I've heard the same stories from men. And it's all about how you react. Either you can stand up for yourself or not. Men or women doesn't matter here.
There is one big rule, that counts for everybody, maybe women in particular because yes, mostly women get more attention: Feel comfortable? Do it. Have a bad feeling? Don't do it. There are several stories, where a situation becomes uncomfortable or even dangerous because someone thought about it and set some bad energy free. But I know a lot of girls (me included) who feel absolutely good when they hitchhike trough Malaysia or Sri Lanka or wherever and never anything happend.
It's always good to have the eyes open, to check if your taxi driver seems trustful (smiling eyes is a good sign!) but don't worry to much.
A very smart lady told me once: If you think about what could happen, it will happen. I think she's right. As long as you feel good and are smart enough to inform yourself about the situation (can I go home alone in this area after sunset? Should I wear long trousers or are shorts ok? ....) there is no point in being scared.

If you expect men to behave like in Europe, you might get some trouble though. Cultures are different and even when you refuse to wear a scarf over your hair, you might come to the point where you realize it is not only about holding women down but also about giving women the chance to hide a little. I know, women should have no need to (at least that's what we Westerners think..!) but I already had situations, where I was lucky to cover myself and I felt treated different after.
You don't need to betray your believes. If you don't agree with a scarf, don't do it. But at least some rules should be respected. Like cover your shoulders and knees. This is not about holding you down but about respect to cultural and religious believes.
Having this in mind, it is not any unsafer for a woman to travel as for a man.

One point though is different - at least for me.
An example: I met this guy who were camping somewhere in the Atlas mountains and got lost. He
didn't have anything or anyone around so he just slept outside. The next morning he found water and some food next to him. A local family saw him during the night and helped him out. I love this story in so many ways but I have to admit that I wouldn't feel comfortable to sleep outside, alone somewhere in the mountains. Obviously because that's pretty adventurous anyway but also because I am a woman and sleeping in a unsafe place could cost me more than my purse. Men can be beaten up or someone could steal their belongings. But women have a body to protect and I would say more than men.
Anyway, I did sleep on train stations and airports and outside too already and I know many strong girls who are just as adventurous as men. But yes, My stomach tells me my limit is somewhere between hitchhiking anywhere and sleeping alone in the mountains (btw. I'm pretty sure that's not a gender thing, I probably would sleep there with a friend by my side - girl or boy).

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