Six month on the road. Half a year.
I left 7278 km behind by paddling 12 country’s, which means: Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Rumania.
Some I just crossed, in some others I spent a couple of weeks.
Six month, experienced and discovered country’s, cultures, people… and ME… in an specific and intense way, like I never did before.
Traveling alone and being in a relationship with somebody you REALLY love, to me, wasn’t easy at all.
I appreciate that my boyfriend has always been by my side and mostly understood the decisions I took and the experiences I collected by myself and the people I met!
He let me fly. He let me be a freebird, which I wanted to be, which I probably needed to be.“
“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours!”
I am yours, Basti!
This solo ride has been challenging to me, to Basti and to us as a couple! Which we managed. We managed that well, that he is going to join me soon!Me and he, together! Another chapter, another story. And for sure: other experiences!
Together we gonna be less alone, will be more jointly. Experiences I am going to collect will be his experiences from now on as well! And his will be mine! My journey, his journey, OUR journey. My impressions, his impressions, OUR impressions.Together we will have more to share. More love, more minds, knowledges and feelings.
During my solo ride, I experienced mostly beautiful thinks, met beautiful souls, ended up at beautiful campgrounds, crossed beautiful landscapes…
But not everything has been beautiful.
Out of different reasons, we are used to share mostly the good memories.
I can just talk about myself, but I always was kind of afraid of sharing something “bad”, sharing sad experiences and mad minds. I was worried about what people could think about me. Is that story “bad enough” to mention?! Are i am allowed to mention and to share what I badly experienced? Is there anybody interested in?!
So far I never published the “dark side” of my life, the dark side of my journey.
I don’t know exactly what made me feel like it, but from now on I will talk about and start with an story which has definitely changed my journey….
Crossing the border from Montenegro to Albania….I couldn’t believe the story’s I read and heard about Albanian men in relation to solo traveler woman. I couldn’t believe that by crossing a border, traveling as a woman could be more different and DANGEROUS.
Unfortunately I had to experience. Once, twice. Three times. Four times…. constantly.
Still in Montenegro, waiting in the line for passport control, my body got covered by views of men, sitting in cars (Mercedes or BMW) with albanian licenses plates.
I tried to stay kind while smiling or even waving to them… no reaction. They kept looking at me in a way I already didn’t like. I felt as a stranger, I felt uncomfortable being blond, having blue eyes.
The first hours of riding my bike in Albania was weird. I enjoyed the beautiful landscape but got confused by all the slowdown and honking passing by cars. Got kind of afraid by recognizing the way people looked at me, the way they shouted to me (in their language, most of Albanians don’t know english).
I never wanted to push myself in a position not to believe in the goodness of people….
At the end of the day, while keeping my eyes open for a campspot, I met a farmer. He passed by on his tractor, looked really friendly, more than less my age.
Without speaking English we kind of communicated and he offered me to pitch my tent in front of his farm, where he’s living with his family!
I was kind of glad that I found such a kind person.
He symbolized me to follow him, which I did. He on his tractor, me on my bike… riding through fields, streets turned into muddy paths… I was wondering about that, didn’t feel well anymore, thought that something is wrong. Wanted to turn.
At the same time he got up of his tractor, came to me.
Wanted to touch my, tried to touch me. Touched me.
Wanted to kiss me, tried to kiss me.
I shoved him. He felt.
I tried to “run away”. Cycling through mud isn’t the easiest way to go fast…. I concentrated in at least not to fall and to get out of the mud. I didn’t look back.
I heard him. I had a quick view over my left shoulder, saw him running, fallowing me, screaming, being angry. I managed to get out of the mud. Managed to escape.
That story definitely did something to me.
And unfortunately it wasn’t the only one.
I also experienced kids, boys, maybe 10 years old, maybe 11 or 12, walking around on streets… when I passed by, they opened their pans pretended to masturbate, followed me, tried to touch me.
I couldn’t believe that.
Other kids, youth and men asked me for sex in the middle of the street, out of their cars, in the supermarket.
Well at least, they just asked for and didn’t try to get it like the farmer did.
I never wild camped in Albania.
First time of my live I wished to be a man… or to have somebody (a male!) with me. just to enjoy the beautiful nature, to discover all those lovely towns and villages like the way I usually do!
I never stoped. I never had lunch somewhere in the nature. I was afraid of passing cars which might stop.
Afraid I might “give invitations”.
That’s how it feels like to me.
They see a woman, traveling alone, as a free and open minded person, open minded for EVERYTHING, giving a invitation for whatever a man wants to do.
…In the same time, this “Situation of being afraid”, teached me new strategies. Beside of not smiling, waving and stopping anymore, beside of not looking in each other’s eyes and especially not accepting any invitation I got from men… I started to look as serious as possible and to ask family’s if I can pitch my tent in their garden. I got to know so many lovely people by staying a night at their place.
Lovely Albanians, very hospitality, very kind and helpful. Shocked and so sorry when I told them my story’s .
I also was volunteering at a festival, where I met nice Albania’s as well!
We have been working together in a deco team, quite international, and had such a great time!
Of course during the festival, there have been great people, sharing the same “electronic festival spirit”.
But unfortunately I experienced the same mentality on the dance floor like I experienced on the street.
The locals touched and gaped woman. “Talked” to us in a disrespectful way.
This Albania story is just another chapter of my “dark side of life” collection. I already collected different and quite a lot experiences with men. Different countries and sceneries, different timetables, different movements…. but all the same background. Sexuality.
To me it doesn’t matter anymore. I already found a way to transform those experiences into something useful.
If you once get used to the rudeness of some human beings, your not that vulnerable anymore and learn how to deal with.
This message goes to every man in the world who ever starred at a woman and made her feel uncomfortable while doing that.
To every man who touched a woman just because he felt like.
This massage goes to every man in the world who treats a woman like an object, like a doll, like a toy, to every man who abused or even raped a woman, to every man who even just thought about something like that.
This message goes to every male human who is seeing hisself stronger, more important and more powerful than a woman….
Every man, who ever, ever, ever treated a woman in a way she didn’t like…. even if it’s just a word he said.
I feel sorry for your obviously broken mind. Your disability to reflect your behavior, your thinking, your acting. Your disability to control your body, your imaginations, your impulses.
You might have a trauma. You might be psychological broken, you might have deeply inner problems.
You might have a religion background, where sexuality is something forbidden which pushes you in the position not to know how to deal with your sexual needs. You might be overstrained by seeing woman not following your religion, not following your “rules”, not covering, dressing, moving, behaving like the woman around you.
I am sorry for you, in a way.
Sorry that you aren’t able to handle your problems and still don’t know how to deal with them.
Your behavior is a shame. You are a shame. Everybody knows, probably you do as well. I hope you do, otherwise I fell even more sorry for you.
You will never get my anger. My hate and my energy. You will never make me stop thinking positiv and you will never stop me believing in the goodness of human being, and yeah: never stop making me believing in the goodness of MAN being.
And i Know there are so many woman feeling the same. I saw them, I met them, I read about them.
There are so many beautiful souls, all over the world. And every man like you, is just helping us to appreciate the good thinks even more.
Every man like you is making us stronger, more self-contained.
You are a man. Alone with dealing what you did.
We are women, growing together in sharing what you nicely tried to destroy.
In the past, nobody talked about what you have done to us.
But woman more and more realize that talking and sharing about it is a way of caring and helping! It’s a movement against you.
I realized. And i am sure more and more woman are going to realize as well soon!
More and more people will going to know about your infamous action! More and more people will start feeling sorry for you.
Soon, everybody is slowly raising their forefinger, showing on you and starting to laugh!
Poor, petty guy, you doesn’t even know anything.