One night whilst sitting with a couple of friends of mixed gender, I decided to tell a story. It started with the following words:
Once upon a time, there was my friend called Person Z, who wanted to travel the world. Person Z had blonde middle long hair. The golden blonde hair, which would shine in the sun, eyes, which felt like sparkling stars when looked at. The body was slim and sportive since used to trekking and taking care of the body. Also food wise not a complicated human being either but one that would watch the food in taken. Since Person Z had announced to travel the world alone, there were many warning voices: “Oh alone to some dangerous countries. What might happen to you then? Take a pepper spray with you and all the necessary phone numbers in case of emergency. Nowadays you hear a lot what can happen of the rapes, the beatings, the thief’s. Just to see some countries, you can look at the places via Google. Travelling alone seems like a too high risk if you ask me”.
But Person Z hadn’t asked anyone for advice. Determined not to get influenced by the negativism Person Z continued planning the journey. But the voices did not cease: “Blondes stand out in the countries you are going to. You will be straight away seen as a tourist. Tourist means easy money or rich person in the poor countries you are planning on going”. Person Z responded “The way I dress gives away that there is not much to take from me. Furthermore, I am travelling to foreign countries fully aware of the cultural impacts and respecting the culture. I will be fine”.
So, a few weeks later Person Z travelled to the exotic countries, carrying a huge rucksack. Experienced the public transport, walked through different landscapes, towns and various countries, toured them and hiking them. Never did Person Z have to feel scared of being the only blonde in the bus even at night. Didn’t feel scared neither when two men were walking behind Person Z. Although, the foot steps were heard clearly and the ear’s automatically concentrated on the increase, decrease or constant noise of the footsteps. At night knowing that the feet might not carry you very fast when needed. Person Z got used to the extra attention as a tourist and continued the journey full of self confidence.
At this moment the male friends had a smug look on their face, so I asked them “ Why are you smirking?” One of them said “We, men, are always portrayed as the evil kind, who in the less developed nations hurt women and here you tell about the blonde pretty girl, who has not been harassed during her journey. The media is the only one pushing these stories out of boundary.”
I nodded quietly and continued with the story. There were of course moments when the cab driver over charged, when the begging kids or sales people at the bazaars were too insistent, when the hotel was not the cleanest but most of the time Person Z could get of this situations with a bit of work. Also the skill of talking in different languages has helped. One of the other males calls out“You should introduce her to me”.
My female friends eyes widened throughout the story in astonishment. One of them said with ignoring the previous comment “I have been wanting to travel alone since years but I did not have the courage to travel because I am a woman alone and you hear always this horrible stories. That gives me new hope”. Almost said in a tearful voice. Giving up on a dream of the circumstances we live in. Another female said “I even am scared when going home alone from the club with my heels, if I could run away fast enough if necessary. Or when I am the only one left in the bus. I can’t imagine how it might be in a foreign country, where the cultures and the attitudes are so different than ours”.
“You are right” were my only words before once again I continued with the story.
Throughout this time Person Z long hair had gone longer, so people were staring more and the attention increased even more. Also the tan had changed to a darker colour from all the travelling at a warmer season. The huge rucksack was a giveaway of someone on their way of exploring new places. Some, who found Person Z interesting asked for pictures. “There are some pictures of me with strange people, which will end up somewhere but I will never see these pictures. One day they will say that was the blonde person who passed our town”. When going to bars the watchful eye on the drink was needed and as well with the offered food and drinks. “I might have faith in others and myself but I am not dumb” was the only sentence I got out of Person Z when asked to describe details of the scenes.
I picked up Person Z the other day upon arrival from the airport. We had managed to stay in contact so, I was aware of some of the adventures but was very keen on hearing more. Upon arrival the hair had become really long, shoulder long and as well his beard had grown. I said “How wonderful for you that you have made such amazing experiences by travelling alone.” Whilst regretfully thinking that this might be a privilege given only to one gender nowadays.