Women Who Travel

Personal, Travel

This post is not dedicated to any particular journey I’ve made. This post is about women who travel: independently, in a creative and respectful way. Just the way they live their lives. They are no abstract protagonists, they are represented by women I know in my family (starting from my awesome Mother), my friends and colleagues, and finally: myself. However, the happenings from last week in Ecuador proved how fragile our freedom for travel is. I want to dedicate my own personal Women’s Day tribute for the memory of all the female travellers who lost their lives because of sexism, misogyny and fundamentalism.

There is so much anger in me, although initially there was simply immense sadness when I heard about the unbelievably brutal and pointless murder of two Argentinean women travelling in Ecuador. Sadness gave way to anger when I analysed the language of the press coverage: initially putting the blame on the travellers to be behave reckless, inappropriate, and visiting the dangerous places. Calling out to parents, why the hell they let them travel alone. In 2016, really?!

This could be me. I travelled alone (not even with the other friend!) thousands of miles in my life, simply because I like discovering things at my own pace. Other times, I travelled ‘only’ with my Mother, or my female friend(s), and I met so many great, like-minded women on my way! I always try to inform myself about the place I’m travelling to, the customs and things to take into consideration, and I never seek out the dangers for the sake of adrenaline rush. Still, I was mugged only once, the luggage that got lost, got back to me through the seven mountains and jungle, and I never had problems with unwanted sexual attention, as I knew how to handle such situations within clean communication and in a respectful way, if needed.

Still, I have to consider myself luck, as this shit is still happening, at a very creepy scale. Unnamed authorities calling us to cover our bodies, be accompanied by men or family or stay at home at night, as if we were an object to carry. I am very frightened to see this conservative trend taking over in many countries around the world and I want to voice my scream against the freedom of women around the world, the explorers, the curious, the mindful and the half of this beautiful world!

Don’t let us scare off, close at home, force into relationships for the only sake of protection (disclaimer: I don’t have anything against the great couples, I’m just putting a broader context!) which ultimately leads into manipulating us more easily. At no other times women had a better financial situation and travelling was considered easier than nowadays, in general. I would like to embrace all my experiences that made me a person that I am now: open for changes, diversity and uncertainty in life, able to risk and step out of my comfort zone to deep dive into something new. And I would like to thank to all the amazing people I met on my way that acknowledged the fact I love travelling alone, and making it an unforgettable story of its own.

RIP Maria José and Marina.

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Chasing waterfalls

Travel

The first time I heard about Iguazu was neither in my geography class or by reading a travel magazine. My first memory of seeing enchanting scene shot on the Argentinian side of the Iguazu Falls, was in Wong Kar Wai’s legendary movie “Happy Together”. So my dream started, like it happens sometimes, because of the powerful art:

I finally visited Iguazu Falls in September 2013, as a part of my trip around Southern Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.

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This magic land, striped between three countries separated by the natural border of the Parana river, is indeed a must-see for the nature-loving souls.

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While hiking, or swimming down the river one can notice a plenty of wild animals such as aligators, tucanos, araras and – last but not least: coatis. These cute-looking four-legged coons can be seen almost everywhere, and they are not scared of people at all (contrary to beautiful tucanos which have learnt not the best side of the humanity…). But watch out, they will not only beg you for food, they will simply steal it from you!

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I chose to stay on the Argentinean side simply because it offered more hotel opportunities, but visiting the neighbouring countries is not an issue. However, it is considered quite a dangerous border due to high volume of smugglers. They say that Ciudad del Este in Paraguay has a fame for being quite dodgy, but I would just say that it was the least interesting part of the journey. When on the Brazilian side though, I would say that visiting the Birds Park is a must: there are some wonderful species living under protection and yet not afraid of people. All of the above-listed pictures of araras and tucanos were taken there!

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Both sides offer spectacular views and wet experiences, but I would say that the Argentinian is better-suited for the hike, and Brazilian one: for photo-taking. It is also about broadening your perspective while chasing the waterfalls: either looking over the Garganta del Diablo from the highest highs in Argenting, or experiencing it’s powerful stream in Brazil. Or sticking to the river, following the ‘Waterfalls’ song’s logic: while in Paraguay.