In two weeks it will have been one year that I hopped on the train at six in the morning. I left the quiet village I was living in to go to Portugal and embark on a sailing boat from there, in which I would cross the Atlantic ocean and end up in Brasil. From there, I hadn’t made any plans. Beginning of 2014 I crossed the border between Brazil and Peru and spend most of my time in the region of Puerto Maldonado in the rainforest and later in and around Cuzco. I had decided to do this by myself. I wanted to venture forth listening to my inner voice and only being responsible for myself. Let the journey take me where I had to be. When do it but at that moment, being in my early 30ies, without children, apartment, house, car…?!?!?!
I knew while getting ready the summer before that I was scared of taking the leap, but also that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I had some money saved and would start filming my second feature documentary on a trip. Traveling solo is a challenge, because it becomes so obvious that there is actually nothing and noone in the world you can “hold on” to. You feel the consequences of your decisions immediately.
Many people find it really brave of a blond female to explore the Southern American continent by herself, or just some part of it. On the other hand, because being a woman of foreign background, people want to protect you and make sure you are safe.
Being a female traveller has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Many of my observations will be featured in future blogs, in my documentary and maybe in a book one day… I got inspired today by my colleague Jorge Riveros-Cayo, a Peruvian journalist, whom I met couchsurfing in Lima. I had received more than 40 invitations by male Limeños offering me to show me the beaches and the city’s nightlife. Yeah, you get those kinds of offers as well being “gringa”. Jorge, however, had made the effort and read my profile, pointing out in his invitation that he was a travel writer and journalist and that he would be interested in finding out more about the project I was traveling for. I took his invitation and was grateful for really interesting conversations about our work. We even ended up doing to work trips to just AMAZING places together: a Pisco tour around the desert of Ica and visiting the luxurious Inkaterra djungle lodges near Puerto Maldonado.
Jorge published this article recently in Spanish, describing 8 questions that women traveling solo often have to hear. For that he had exchanged thoughts with Canadian traveler, blogger and writer Candice Walsh.
1. Why are you by yourself?
2. Are you going to come to your senses one day?
3. Don’t you know that India (or whatever country) is dangerous for a woman?
4. Are you not scared that someone might attack you?
5. What are you running from?
6. Are you going to eat by yourself?
7. Do you sometimes feel lonely?
8. You couldn’t find anyone to travel with you?
I like her selection, even more so because it gets even more interesting if you broaden them to life as a whole…
You can read Jorge’s entire article here in Spanish and dig more into some of his other travel blogs.