I have been thinking about whether to write this article for a while. It has been on the back of my mind for a bit and as I am getting more and more worrying wishes, where I know that people are very sincere when they wish me ‘Safe travels’ I decided to spill out the beans.
To be completely honest with you, I think, that being a white solo girl hitch-hiker from Europe is not so much a disadvantage when traveling as much as it is an advantage (or more like a privilege). Now, I am not talking about the privilege of having European passport, access to free health care or education (yes, it is kind of free in Czech Republic) and all that money-related matters, because those are things you can secure in most places although I admit it is much harder for some. However, your gender or colour of your skin is not something you work hard to get. You were born with it without really deserving it, no matter what you ‘got’.
I always try to convince my friends from all around the world to either join me or do whatever travel adventure on their own. I honestly believe that being exposed to different cultures, lifestyles and environment while being completely self-dependent and having to take the responsibility for one’s decisions is a great way to learn about ourselves – and it also helps to open the mindsets of people in places where you travel. Although I believe that your attitude makes a big difference on the experiences you have when you travel: being a YES-(wo)man or a detailed planner, trusting people or being overly careful, choosing comfort or choosing fun and new experience… I also realize that all the fun and unbelievable stories that I have so many, I partly experienced for reasons beyond my control.
Your gender and colour of your skin is what people see before you even (try to) make the first contact. Both (gender and colour of your skin) carry certain stereotype and is infused with expectations about you as a person. So, while for some those associations might play into their cards, other have to first prove them wrong before being able express themselves.