Hitching in Portugal as a woman. 


Today I got picked up by this couple on the side of the road. Right after playing with that homeless dog (see my last post), I realized I hadn’t been paying attention. I love to go for runs and bike rides and get lost and then try to find my way back based on intuition alone, but I had stopped paying attention at some point during my jog and got all turned around and was totally lost. I didn’t have wifi on my phone, meaning the gps didn’t work, so I did what I’ve done so many times in my years of travel and trusted total strangers to help me.
This couple was on the side of the road looking at a map so when I motioned that I wanted to talk, they rolled down their window and let me look at the map too. After I said I would head north and see if it seemed familiar, they said “would you fancy a lift instead?” So we drove around the hills together, trying to find a road back to town and getting to know each other a little. They’re Brits on holiday with just their adult kids (the woman’s dad is very sick and couldn’t come). When they found the main road, they asked if I had seen this one beach yet. Why no, I hadn’t! “Let’s let you have a look then!” and they drove me to this place. Then they dropped me off at my airbnb. Such a sweet, funny couple.
Some of my absolute favorite moments of travel (and life) come from the stupid mistakes I make. Remembering this 24/7 is hard but it has been the key to most of my happiness in life. Also, this probably wouldn’t have happened to a man. We talk about male privilege a lot, and we also talk about how dangerous the world is for women. But when I travel (outside the US at least), I find that being a (white) woman is a huge advantage cuz people see me as less of a threat and they want to make sure I’m safe. They just trust me. I’m guessing it’s different as a woman of color but I don’t know what that’s like so I can’t speak about it. The point is, Don’t let Law and Order SVU convince you the world is not safe, ladies. If you rely entirely on intuition and knowing who to trust and when, you have straight up super powers. Unless you’re in a really dangerous place in general, you can feel and be safe in most corners of the world. The only time anyone has every tried to rape or murder me was in my own home by a man I loved (but intuitively knew I shouldn’t trust… but decided to anyway). Let that sink in.
Don’t let the media scare you out of exploring places away from home. That isn’t something men alone are entitled to.

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