Nicaragua - I
The first installment of my travel journals is dedicated to Eric Tanpanich, who has been asking me to write for months now. I miss you, and I hope you're well.
One aspect of traveling by my self that I absolutely hate is constantly being told to be careful traveling as a woman. You must understand, I am completely aware of the dangers in this world and I am not stating this to naively write it off. However, my frustration lies simply in the fact that I live in a world where I must be sat down and have a plan laid out for me. For some, it may be hard to understand the general social/economic disparity between men and women, or the inequality present in our world. I wish I could explain how upsetting it is to abruptly pack up your stuff in the middle of the most beautiful sunset you've ever experienced in fear of not making it home before the sky is blanketed with darkness.
A couple nights ago, I flew into Managua, Nicaragua. Whilst on the plane coming in, a man a few rows behind me came over to make causal conversation (probably not realizing that I was approximately 20 years younger than him). He's was very kind and in no way threatening, but he did leave me with some advice that ultimately scared me to go outside while I was in the country. He proceeded to tell me, that I was abnormal in that I wanted to travel alone. "Most women are not as keen, I can see you're more of a go getter." These words have stuck with me since as it bothers me to think that what I am currently doing is out of the ordinary. Though his words were true, it was something I did not want to hear. I wish everyone could travel freely and happily with no troubles, that should not be a luxury limited to men.
I've spent two days in Managua and even though it is vastly different than my culture it doesn't scare me. Of course, I am careful and weary of some people around me... But I'm not quick to judge a place based on sheer difference. I've been lucky enough to stay with family friends who coincidentally don't speak a bit of English. This seems like a prime opportunity to learn more Spanish, but truthfully not being able to communicate makes me feel like a deaf cat - vulnerable. Quisiera que hablaba más español pero yo practicando mucho en Nicaragua.
Regardless of warning and consequent discouragement, I'm happy. I can't help but think back to all the wonderful trips I've been fortunate enough to take in the presence of loved ones. This morning I'll be starting a new journey, for the most part by my self, through a country I know close to nothing about. Traveling alone can be somewhat of a terrifying prospect, but it's equally as exhilarating and liberating if you let it be.