It Could Be Anyone, Anywhere

  

It’s tough being a modern, independent, adventurous woman sometimes.  When I ended my last long-term relationship of 3 1/2 years, my protective bubble fell away. I’ve experienced how being outgoing, nice, and alone has made me a perfect target for predators, and has set my ‘bullshit detector’ on full blast.

At home or abroad, it makes no difference- it still happens.  While working at a nice farm-to-table bar and restaurant where I lived, I was walked in on in a bathroom (that didn’t lock properly) and trapped.  The guy got a swift knee in the gonads and I got away.  So did he.  My last 2 days in Thailand, a man I met who spoke 5 languages and was finishing up his degree, wouldn’t let me close my door after walking me to it.  He only left after I told him I’d raise my voice louder after every time I told him to go.  Guess he wasn’t smart enough to translate ‘No.’  Of course he had the audacity to ask me out the next day.  Get out of my life!  When someone offers to buy me a drink, my automatic thought is, ‘what do you want from me?’  I’ve come a long way from being naive and trusting.

While backpacking Costa Rica, I made friends with a local.  He offered to show me around the gems of Manuel Antonio, and I was excited to see the less touristed areas.  We trekked for a while, but once we were in a completely secluded area, he asked me to lift up my top.  I was out like lightning.  It was then (my first solo trip) that I had to come to terms with who I was to the outside world, especially while traveling: attractive, single, and easy to take advantage of.  It was depressing.  I wanted to make genuine connections, get to know another way of life, see the side of places I might not be able to on my own.  Why did there have to be an alterior motive?

This isn’t a ‘woe is me, I’m beautiful and life is hard’ post.  It’s a message to men that women, under no circumstances should be viewed as something to be conquered.  It’s a message to women that it could be a reality for you.  It’s a warning that the cool operator that says you have a beautiful heart and he only wants to respect you, might actually want to do the opposite.  I know this, because I’ve experienced that.

I’m truly thankful that these close calls haven’t gotten out of my control; I feel for those in which it has.  My heart seriously hurts for humanity when a gentle, beautiful, trusting person can be broken.  It’s not fair.

This isn’t a light post, I know, but it’s an issue worth talking about.  Many travel blogs only talk about the beautiful, positive side-and surely that’s true and real, but there’s the dark side too.  So much seems swept under the rug and replaced for something lighter and brighter.  I want to share my beautiful discoveries with you too,which I do, but I  also want to reveal the darker truth that few seem to talk about. 

My intention is not to discourage solo travel, but enlighten, raise awareness, and hopefully arm you properly.  It’s a big, beautiful, chaotic world out there worth exploring.  But not everyone is as trustworthy as myself and perhaps you.  Not everyone has pure intentions, and that is just the reality.

The hard part is acknowledging it is a part of life.  Have I put myself in situations where the probability of these instances are more likely to happen?  In some cases, yes.  Does it make it justifiable?  No.  But I refuse to change who I am and how I do things unless it suits me.  Why should I?

It’s upsetting and frustrating because I come from a place that wants to see the best in people.  Although I’ve had numerous experiences where I’ve been unjustly disrespected and sexually harassed, it hasn’t lead me to put all men under the umbrella of unworthy.  But it’s happened enough times that I want to speak about it.  What gives?

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