Saturday, August 7, 2010

You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!

In general, the reaction to the news of my trip has been positive. Yes, of course, lots of jealousy, but still positive. But this entry is dedicated to the negative ones. It’s seems the people that have the biggest issue with trip, and specifically that I am taking this trip alone, are older women. When they find out about the trip or I tell them about it, most often their next question is “who are you going with?” When the answer ends up being “no one,” there is an immediate reaction on their face of disapproval, followed by either, at best, warnings of being alert at all times, and at worst, threats on my life and health and invoking of Natalie Holloway. At this point, I am having to restrain myself from openly laughing at their reaction.

Yes, I know, I am a girl.
I had no choice in the matter. It’s something that happened about 25 years ago, so it’s nothing I can do anything about now.
I am alone.
No real choice in that either. I would prefer to have traveling companions, but no one else is in my unique circumstances, and I’m not waiting around for some of my friends to become independently wealthy and maybe decided they would like to take a trip to the other side of the world with me.
I am in unfamiliar surroundings.
It’s a given, but it’s also part of the great adventure. What do you want me to do, take a dry run of Australia? How would I even do that?
Of course, everything and everyone in the area surrounding has unsavory ideas for me.
What, that last one was too extreme? Paranoid even? Exactly.

I get it. I am always alert, conscious, aware of my surroundings and the potential weirdoes around me. Every day of my life. Because, make no mistake, there are plenty of people I encounter everyday in Hillsborough, Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill that give me pause and make my senses become heightened just by how they are acting around me. When this happens, I am immediately plotting my next move if they approach me, brandish a weapon, somehow are able to kidnap me. I am fumbling for keys or mace and mustering my strength and adrenaline to kick some butt if need be. Wait, he kept walking, it’s a false alarm. It happens a couple of times a month. It might happen in Australia. But I’m not staying home because of old fashion notions that since I’m a female I cannot travel or do things by myself. And like I said, it only seems like older women that have issues with it. Are they just resentful they let these imaginary restrictions keep them here? Are they truly worried about me? Or are they just trying to put me back in my place? I just don’t understand the reaction an almost perfect stranger feels entitled to make to me. I could maybe understand my family, my grandmother reacting this way. But she has been so much cooler about it than random old women telling me I’ll be raped or murdered and that I cannot go. I can’t go? Who are you? You know nothing about me and have spent less than 30 minutes of your life interacting with me. I just don’t get where the nerve comes from. I know, it’s a bad, bad world we live in. I live here too. And I get it. But I cannot let that keep me home. Because then, don’t they win anyway?

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