I Am Not Wonder Woman
I look at my bicycle computer. 4.998... 4.999... and boom there it is. 5.000... 5.000 Kilometers. I take a few pictures and get back on the bike to start the next 5K. Later that day I post one of the pics in a facebook group for solotraveling women. I finish the caption with the words "Just do it!"
A few hours later thousands of women have reacted to my post. Several congratulate me, say that I am an inspiration. I am quite surprised, while I scroll through the comments. "Well, what I am doint, isn't that special...", I think to myself. It isn't until my friend Marie kind of makes me see it from a different point of view, that I understand, that it actually is kind of special. Just because cycling through South America is as normal, as cycling through the woods in Germany, doesn't mean, that is normal to everybody else. Even though for me it's a no-brainer, to travel on my own, it still is something that requires a lot of courage for a lot of people, especially women. (unfortunately!)
This text is for you, yeah you, you, who has been wanting to do this one trip, who has been having this crazy idea for years, but hasn't had the gutts to do the first move yet, yes, you, who has heard, that country X is "super dangerous", which is why you would never go there, especially not on your own.
"To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries"
I have traveled nearly 40 countries and I bet you, that there is at least one person on this planet, that says, that country X is way too dangerous, because that person's cousin's has been told so by their doctor, whose friend's friend got robbed there.
In the end shit can happen anywhere. Let's take my bicycle trip, I could return at my parent's tiny town in Germany, after cycling thousands and thousands of kilometers through South America and then be in the wrong place, at the wrong time and get robbed in that tiny town.
"But aren't you scared?" - a question I hear the most. No, I am not scared. If I were scared, I would be full of prejudices and mistrust, therefore not be open for new people, places and things. If I were scared, I would still be sitting at the Hostel in Medellin, just starring at my bike. If I were scared, I would lay in my tent at night, with a knife in my hand, not being able to sleep. This doesn't mean, that I blindly trust every person I meet or wildcamp anywhere, without thinking, but I listen to my inner "warnsystem". It's crazy how our bodies can send signals. In all those years of solotraveling, I have always listened to this warnsystem and common sense (If there's a guy, telling me to follow him into a dark alley, I won't go) and never have had any trouble.
"What's traveling? A change of location? Not at all! When traveling, you change your opinion and preconceptions." Anatole France
I grew up with two brothers and a grandpa, whom I really loved, but who also had the opinion, that girls cannot climb up on the roof of the shed. Maybe that's why I developed a "I can do this anyways!"-mindset. To me there was never boy-things and girl-things. And that's why I have never been scared to travel on my own. BUT - that doesn't mean I am some kind of Wonderwoman!
When people ask me, how I started, I always simply say - I just did it. It doesn't have to be the solotrip to India, you can start with small steps. Because once you leave your secure comfortzone of your everyday life, you will quickly realize, that it isn't necessarily unsafe out there and that it is kind of normal, to be out there and that it's especially the uncomfortable moments, that will make you grow and give you strength and life experience. And you will learn, that it somehow always goes on.
"I wish I was as brave as you!", sentences like that make me sad, because I am just a regular person and the braveness I have, is also inside of you, you just have to believe in it and just do it.