Bigger, stronger

Today, I wanna talk about fear. Because I’m a reasonably brave girl. I say this not because yesterday someone commended me on the fact that I was able to get up and find my ipod minutes after eating gravel on the road.

I want to talk about fear because fear is unfairly shoved into my face every once in a while, and sometimes a little more often than that.

I am a little afraid now.

Here’s the story. I love to travel. It makes me happy. Anywhere, anytime, travel makes me happy. Flights don’t but that’s a different story. I had been planning (and i use the word loosely) to go to Europe ever since I graduated. Back then I would have to mooch the entire monies from my family, and I wasn’t okay with doing that. So I didn’t. Then I thought of it last Christmas. Again, it didn’t quite work out, seeing as I didn’t go there!

I thought of going this December- that way I could see my uncle, spend Christmas with Sinter Klaas (or however that is spelt) and my dutch cousins. Then I thought I would make my way to Vienna, spend time with Fruity and go to Paris with her. Fruity was game, so I thought ..well this could work.

Anyway turns out that the tickets are awesomely expensive, even my soul isn’t worth that much. And let’s be reminded that Europe is crazy cold and that I am a very beach person. Said factors lower the enjoyment levels, thereby putting one under more pressure to deliberately have a good time.

To cut a hell of a boring explanation short, I made my choice. I was gonna ditch the Christmas holiday and go in October. Autumns, falls, coats and boots, without freezing my pants off.
And I was gonna stick with the Dutch plan and ditch the ladies-trip-out.
Uncle said I should do Barcelona, Belgium, Vienna and Paris. (Yes I know Belgium is a country and the rest are cities, you #*$^). And I liked the idea. Uncle was very supportive and very happy that I finally decided on it.

Except for one tiny little inconsequential detail. I was going to do all this alone. I didn’t think of it as a big deal. Apparently, I was wrong.

APPARENTLY, It is a huge fucking deal. First my mom, under the sheltered environment of instant messaging, told me that well, basically Europe was just madhouse of horrible people who are just waiting to do horrible things to me. She told me I shouldn’t travel alone and I shouldn’t travel with boys and I should find some girls to travel with.

Where the fuck am I going to find girls to travel with? I can barely find girls to have lunch with me, and that took me like two fucking years! Let’s face it, women don’t acknowledge the need for other women until they’re burnt. I’m generalising here, but it’s true. Give a woman a boyfriend and she will happily forget that her own gender even exists. I know this because I have extended several offers of friendships to several women and puhleeze, I am quite a pleasant person and you don’t have to be so pricey.

AND EVEN IF I did find girls who were willing, that isn’t enough. We have to sync our leave, our budgets and our interests. Who’s to say who wins in a dual between “let’s laze in Corsica” and “let’s party in Berlin”? Really, how do you reach consensus? Friends are friends, but noone wants to compromise on a 3000 dollar holiday. Puhleeze. I have waited a long time for people to come around.

Then my friends have to rain down on my enthusiasm. My female friends. Apparently, there is no NEED for me to prove my bravery. I need to be afraid. And travelling alone sucks anyway.

You know what? I have two constant reminders of the fact that I am a woman. One is the fear of rape and the other is the terrible pain of periods. Thank you very very much.

Let it be known that both these reminders are fairly regular- once a month for the latter, and every waking minute for the former. So who’s to say that travelling increases the probability of the former?

Rape is a very real fear. I know that. I don’t have to be reminded. Believe you me, I have been reminded enough. It is one thing to be aware and quite another to be afraid. I am not trying to prove my bravery because I can’t. I acknowledge that even a pipsqueak of a man could overpower me. I am five-feet-zero tall for God’s sake! There is no question of putting up a fight- I am not trained in anything but kickcrotch-kwan-do and even that is self-administered. So if every waking breath is really rape waiting to happen, why bother?

The truth is, now, I am actually scared. And that is just unfair, because I was really looking forward to the trip.

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13 thoughts on “Bigger, stronger

  1. Girls are a bitch to travel with, Jups. 99.9% of girls are soooo much fussier than I am, it drives me mad. I’ll take a guy along any day – much more easygoing, won’t crib if plans change at a moment’s notice and we go somplace impulsively. Switzerland with Vinay Reddy was one of the best trips ever. It’s a whole ‘nother ball game travelling with my dear husband, though… πŸ˜› Man, a ring on your finger makes the easy-going-ness evaporate.

  2. I hear ya, sister! Fear of rape is what keeps us women from picking up the world in one hand and putting it in our pockets.. It is not something one can get over easily either, coz of constant reminders every second out there. I would surely prefer traveling alone to traveling with an all-gal team.. it is really hard for a group of gals to get along peacefully, everyone ends up feeling like they had to compromise. Anyway, long story short, take the trip. It is totally worth it. Always carry pepper spray, and wear shoes that you believe can a hurt a bad man’s you know what. And, oh, pocket knife in your pocket. We have the fear, and we still have a fantastic time. Go for it!

  3. the only two reasons why i wish i weren’t a girl , ya knw..? and yes it definitely sucks when u cant do things anytime, anywhere on impulse jus cause we’re of the fairer sex … and we do have reason to be umm ..careful…i love travelling myself..and i often dream of going all alone to some nice little place up in the mountains…jus me and solitude for company…

  4. sinter Klaas? Oh god. please, oh please don’t tell me you mean Santa Claus, the Jolly fat man of Jollies, the emblem of comercialism and children’s hope’s and dreams. If I ever meet you jups, there is going to be some serious education. Its not going to be tours around sydney or you draging me around asia. its going to be us, sitting at home, filling your head with Teenage mutant Ninja Turtles, with Bad easter specials of He-man and the masters of the Universe, of Invader Zim, and most importantly, Bill And Ted.As for plane tickets, yes. Theya re expensive. And the entire plane experience, with bag searches, detectors and waiting about because of delay’s, ends up being idiotic. If there was a magical way, that would allow me to be (to put it vulgarly), raped up the arse and reach my destination in the same time, I’d take the latter every time. Airports annoy me. They also take things to seriously. My last trip to Vanuatu, the security guard asked me “have yer got anything sharp on yer” To which I replied “well the new shirts in from Ralp Lauren *strikes a pose*, *golf swing* *another fashion pose*”. yeah, don’t do that. Don’t joke with someone who has the power and the right to fist you up the arse.As for traveling with peope….. no. Seriously. There are always threats. And unless you have a group of girls, probably at least 6 of them, any threat you would of faced alone you’ll face with your friends.And as for rape…. I have never heard of my trouble from my friends. No more trouble than what happens in Australia anyways (we don’t have that high rape cases do we?). The only troubles start to arrise if you backpack, stay at the worst hostelle’s and get drunk alot. Y’know, get yourself into a hugely stupid comprimising situation calling the Human Mating call, “I’m so wasted, I’m SOOOO wasted.”Basically, just be sensible. That tends to solve most problems.Oh, and Europe is a Madhouse. but its more like an Alice in Wonderland crazy than mental assylum crazy. And that reminds me a story that a musician in australia called “Pinkie” tells. About this sex househe stayed in in for former USSR, where there was this one guy, who could come in every week, and want to be dressed up and whipped and do the dancing bear thing that happens to bears (its horrid really, poor bears). And there was another guy, who’d come in every week, who did’t know the first guy, had no relation to him, didn’t come with him or anything. And the second guy’s thing that got him off, was to watch the guy doing the dancing bear thing. apparently that was going on for 12 years.That’s sweet, but in a van gough kinda crazy. “I love you, here’s my ear!”I’m rambling. I must get my sleep.

  5. Wendelin- Yeah, I haven’t had trouble with the guys either, more easy-going except when they force you onto the cable car which you so desperately hate ..oh right, that’s me.But yeah, it’s just me this time.Mockingbird- Thanks πŸ™‚ Pepper spray is getting serious consideration! Ex-me- sigh..it really sucks doesn’t it?Kris-Silly boy, yes I mean Santa Claus..it’s the Dutch word…gah..you better not think I’m a dumass.. because I adore He-man and the Ninja Turtles..I even had their action figures!I intend to stay safe.. I just don’t wanna be psyched into getting terrified and looking completely gullible and out of place ya know?And yeah, apparently making jokes in the airport isn’t such a great idea.. I liked what you did though, I’d give you points for trying, but then again I don’t frisk random people on a regular basis for a living.And this soviet brothel sounds like a stand up comedy bar…I am laughing so much right now..(mostly because I love Van Gogh..tee hee)Poor Vincent..Casa- hmmm…a thousand little pieces of authentic liquorice…

  6. Well the Man, as much as a mavelous painter that he was, was a basket of crazy. The wheel was still turning but the Hamster was dead. I mean, his ear? Why his ear? Because he loved her. Meh, makes more sense than most love really.As for jokes, I have plenty that are far to inapropriate and ones that would get me jailed. I mean, getting a bunch of friends together, dressing up with turbans and beards, and asking “Excuse me, when will you turning the bomb detectors off?”, is Hilarious. It also, under australia’s Mirror of the Patriot Act, would get me Jailed for a sentance between 3 to 5 years at least. Yay for lack of civil liberties.And as for getting terrified. Just go with the flow, and things will turn out. I’ve always noticed that.Bring protection, like the pepper spray. Or perhaps get cybernetic implant that allow you to shoot lasers from your cootch. That would stop rape.I can’t believe I just suggested that. I’m… appauled at my own horrid imagination. have… have a nice day.

  7. Hey don’t let these things dampen your spirit.I did a three week holiday in US last year all by myself.It was one of my best holidays.I did have family in some places so it was a bit easy on me.About Europe Im sure you will know more, be sure to check where you stay, and be careful if you get picked up for drinks.Now these places ppl try and be very friendly, but they are also big on drugs and then one thing leads to another scenario.I think if you chose your place of stay wisely you should be OK.Oh how I wish I was backpacking Europe just about now.Good luck, I hope you make that trip.

  8. Kris- You’ve raised chastity belts to a whole new level! Hahahah…I hope noone else reads that ;)Ex-me- Goody! No way I’d mind that!EU- Thanks, i intend to.. you’ll see pictures soon enough. I’m obstinate like that ;)Anon- Uhh, theoretically yes, realistically no. Give it a thought.

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