This next post is inspired by brief travel buddy, Rick, aka Ginger Jesus, the truck driver from Texas who quit his job, started traveling through Mexico and like, Forrest Gump, just continued onward until he felt like stopping or his bank account told him it was time to get a job. After talking with Rick for several hours about his adventures cycling, hitchhiking and camping his way through South America, I realized that if I could have one traveling super power, it would literally be having the balls to do the stuff he did and still does.
Perhaps, it’s a bit naïve of me to claim that being a man would make traveling more interesting and exciting for me given that I’ve never been a man nor mistaken for one ever in my life, but I can’t help but be envious sometimes. There are two elements really of being a man traveler that appeal me: the more attractive social labels and greater traveling options.
First, the more attractive social labels. I think even in American society, people view men who travel around the world on their own as mysterious adventurers or young bucks looking to have some fun before coming home to settle down. For women who travel alone, I think we get viewed as spinsters who can’t find a man and are giving up on love. Or there’s the belief that we’re traveling around desperately hoping to find someone who will rescue us from this barbaric nomadic lifestyle. Either way, it’s considered a frivolous for a woman to travel on her own or move abroad and the moment she finds a partner, she should obviously be willing to give up that silly lifestyle on a moment’s notice. Well sometimes I get sick of defending my lifestyle and dreams of trekking through the dessert rather than walking down an aisle in a church. It’s in these instances, that I envy the men who seem to have an easier time on the social acceptance front.
The second part of being a male traveler that intrigues me is the greater traveling options part. Listening to Rick tell me countless stories about all of these unique little villages he came across while riding his bike made me green with envy. It’s not as though I’m traveling in countries that forbid a woman to travel by bike or camp out in the wide open spaces, but I by no means whatsoever, would feel safe doing so. Not having protective walls with locks and other types of security is not a method of travel on which I wish to do primary research.
Another thing Rick told me about was hitchhiking, which has always been something of an intrigue to me. The thought of just randomly hopping in with a stranger and sharing life stories while you venture across the open road is a dream of mine! However, again, I don’t have the balls to travel like this because of the horror stories I’ve been fed about women being picked up by a serial killer and hacked up into little pieces and mailed in a box back home. Who knows what the death rates really are on female hitchhikers? And from what Rick has told me about the world of truck drivers, I most likely wouldn’t have a problem, but again, not a subject on which I’m dying to do primary research.
In short, those are the reasons why I think it would be cooler to travel as a man – more social acceptance, more flexibility in travel accommodations and greater confidence hitchhiking. Any other women travelers out there who feel the same way or perhaps men who are envious of the perks of being a female traveler for reasons I take for granted?