Backpacks and Sensibilities

The real purpose of this post is to vent some of my frustrations of modern women travelers. Before moving to the UK for school I was gearing up for my adventures when I read a Cosmopolitan magazine (will try and find article link) discussing the recent rise in deaths of women travelers. Adventure tourism seems to have taken a real hold of our generation and while I do have a penchant for strange side streets and the occasional midnight stroll through the woods I do try to temper my actions with common sense, and more importantly, my friends and I act as checks and balances for all decisions. Sure I wanted to walk home late at night in Scotland, my friend said let’s not. A creepy field is no place for us. We probably would have been fine. But we definitively were fine taking the bus. Another friend wanted to get a tattoo from a bar in Cambden, I said let’s go home and Google it first. So let’s try and be safe ladies. Also that whole We Can Do Anything Men Can Do Better thing, doesn’t mean we have to actually prove that we too can jump off the ski lift into the parking lot – can we all agree to leave the proactive attitude for things like making it into the Oval office?

So often I have had the argument of whether or not to book a hotel before arriving in a city or if hitch-hiking into the jungle is a good way to save money. I have my share of “well I was traveling” moments of true stupidity but again – it’s checks and balances. While one friend of a friend Philicia* is working as a day laborer to travel around Europe and staying with “good-natured” strangers, Helen* is telling me about her trip to Cambodia where she was stranded by her “tour” group in the jungle and it took them two days to get back and she was hysterically crying the entire time. But at least they really experienced the place right? Once someone tells me they want to really experience a place I’m immediately worried about traveling with them. TV shows and beatnik novels have made it seem cool to wander around an unfamiliar city and trust the kindness of strangers. This is not only dangerous but its very annoying because these people are also extremely averse to tours and guidebooks which is how you spend 10 hours changing buses and train instead of two driving on a bus, then go to a club and don’t realize there is an amazing and famous fresco you’ve always wanted to see in the church next to your hotel.

Really it is not Jane Austen who demonstrates my point best but the show Castle where the new captain is a woman who refuses to answer to ma’am only captain or sir. Every time they call her sir I’m annoyed. Why can’t a ma’am have power? Yes, yes, I know all of the sexist connotations that have built up over time but I would like to think that there are a few women out there who are capable of knocking the rust off it. I don’t need to be a man, or be referred to as one, to be strong or accomplished.

Ok annoying rant completed. Next post will be shopping I promise.

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