#GirlRising: An Open Letter to the Girls of the World
Dear Girls of the World,
I grew up in a household where I didn’t feel inferior of men. I have 3 brothers and a sister — we were raised to be equal so we will not be dependent on each other. We all have our own identity, interest and ways on how to live. My mother raised us alone and never did I feel that I was without food, education and shelter. Even if we didn’t have a father present, things have always worked out for us.
That was years ago…
Today, I changed my mind again. From playing football-slash-hookie, jumping with wake boards, climbing walls like Spiderman and meditating like Buddha boy, I am currently in Brazil with the mission of seeing the world. 5 months ago (really, it’s been 5 months already?!), I ditched my job, sold everything I own and left home. It wasn’t easy. Like most of my friends say, it’s like getting drunk in Tokyo and waking up in Africa. I received negative vibes and wishes: “You’ll never make it. You’re a girl.” “Don’t go far from Francisco or else you might get raped.” “You’re going to where? It’s dangerous out there!” A myriad of phone calls, text messages and Facebook PMs bombarded me on the night of my departure. But you know what? I understood why they were labelling me crazy. I was a girl living in a macho society who decided what she wants for her life. Sure, we weren’t raised that way. I got all the support that I had from her — my mother. When I left, she was very sad but she was looking at me like saying, “You are a superstar and you will make it.”
There were hard times, yes. In September, I faced the greatest road challenge that has no crash course or training required to finish the course — I was in a massive heartbreaking separation. Vulnerable, lost and lonely, my foreign parade was so attractive in Africa that people tried to take advantage of the facade. If there were three important things that I learned from football, it’s leadership, protecting yourself from the opponent and aiming for the goal. I protected myself in a foreign country that I have no family and friends present. In some countries, people look at women like a weakling but I chose to be different. I survived. You shouldn’t be scared to see the world just because people think you are a girl. Oh wait, let me rephrase that: you are a woman so don’t be afraid to see the world in its greatness! This journey led me to meet different empowered women doing the same thing as I do: travelling. Meet the women that made me see that I am not crazy at all.
- Kristi has been travelling in the US for 7 months running marathons.
- Jane rode her motorbike in Australia and around New Zealand alone.
- Sarah did a lot of travelling on her own in China.
- Anne enjoyed the souks, gins, a sheikh and a magic book in Oman by herself.
- Helen explored the Galapagos Island (check left sidebar! It’s on my list!) solo.
- Natasha went to India to travel alone.
- Sofia enjoyed the ride in Armenia by herself.
- Erin has kids but pursued travelling without them this year.
- Sara R. decided to travel alone in the US and Malaysia.
- Jo taught me how to choose a female-friendly hotel. She’s been travelling alone for a long time now!
- Marysia has been to Benin, Kazakhstan, Oman, Morocco, Jordan, Israel and Azerbaijan.
- Alouise drove across Canada by herself.
- Jessica travelled alone for the first time this summer!
If I am wrong, then we all seem to enjoy the insanity.I think everything’s clear to you now.It will be hard but worth it. The lessons that you will learn here will be unending and will not be provided in any system. While you are reading this, I can still see you saying. “She’s crazy. Why does this sound easy to her?” Because it is. You just have to open your eyes, see the light and be that strong woman I know. The world wants to see you too, girl. So go out there, dare and win!
All the love in the world,
who is travelling, writing, loving and learning
This post is a late submission to the #GirlRising assignment. Join the movement today! Reminder: This Friday on #JAchat, we will be talking about Street Photography and I will be co-hosting with my three powerful girlfriends Pola, Francesca and Romy. Join us on Twitter at 13:00 ET!