There’s something empowering about travelling don’t you think? Whether you’re off gallivanting the world as a female, or a male, a solo traveller or a couple – it’s a completely liberating experience.
I’ve always been an independent girl, but truthfully speaking, a few months ago, I had some rather uncomfortable moments in Sri Lanka that’s hit me profoundly that I thought I should share with y’all. (Yes, it’s taken me this long to write about).
Long story short, I met a lovely Japanese girl on the train from Colombo to Kandy and we quickly became travel buddies. We went out exploring the sights of Kandy and then headed out to dinner. It hit 10 pm and the streets were practically deserted except for the lingering Tuk Tuk drivers. As strong as I present myself, I always feel uneasy at the thought of being in another country late at night as a woman, roaming the streets, knowing very well you’re so far from home.
And this is when things got a little weird. Firstly, our Tuk-Tuk driver nearly refused to take us both in the same Tuk Tuk. Weird, as we were going the same way. We also knew he ripped us off but we just wanted to get the hell out of there. So off we went, and this is where things started to get eerie. Our accommodation was not close to the city centre and it was on a very dark road. Randomly, he suddenly stopped the tuk-tuk, turned off the engine and casually got out. Maybe I’m fucking crazy and have watched way too much news that my mind assumes that the worst is about to happen. But I’m sitting here thinking “fuck, what if this is a stall and he’s got other people coming to rob us.” Seriously, that’s what went through my mind.
Is it wrong for me to assume the worst? Maybe. Although I’m an optimistic gal, I’m no fool to think this shit doesn’t happen. Robberies, rapes, kidnappings etc – it happens, plain and simple.
Just recently, a young girl just 20 years of age, backpacking through Mozambique, Africa was brutally raped and murdered. The poor friends and family.
And even though I know so much of the world can be a safe place, I also know how incredibly difficult it can be for women to travel solo. Sometimes you stumble upon uncomfortable situations. Sometimes the men that say unspeakable things, harass you or taunt you are just simply uneducated. Is it their fault? Not entirely. This world isn’t fair. It’s not black and white. It’s intricate and complex and we don’t get to fucking choose how we’re born, or where but we do always have a choice to be better humans.
Look after one another. Although I know so much of this world is a safe place, I also know how incredibly difficult it can be for a woman to travel solo. Sure, it can be a rewarding experience for all, but often, we face different concerns, different Because other cultures don’t see eye to eye.
Just like tonight, I was reminded again how good people can be. I met a lovely British couple from my cooking class who I just hit it off with. Genuine, good-hearted souls with good banter. It hit 10pm and it was time to leave Chill café. The roads by this time are dark and deserted with men here and there lingering, walking, or sleeping in Tuk Tuks. And you know what they did for me? They walked me home. They went out of their way to ensure I got back safely to my place. That simple gesture shared between these guys meant the fucking world to me.
So please, ladies & gents on the road –look after one another. You see, that solo traveller over there – protect them, help them, talk to them. You don’t realise the impact it could have on their journey.