"Mein Traum: Per Anhalter nach Bora Bora"Job aufgeben, Rucksack packen, losziehen - davon träumen viele, denen der Alltag zu eng geworden ist. Ana Bakran hat den Plan in die Tat umgesetzt. Als ihre Selbstständigkeit ins Stocken geriet, packte die Kroatin ihre Sachen. Seit 2013 reist sie von Zagreb bis nach Bora Bora in Französisch-Polynesien. In Australien, wo sie sich zurzeit aufhält, hat sie ihre Reise Revue passieren lassen und '36 Tipps für Alleinreisende per Anhalter' aufgeschrieben. SAAL ZWEI veröffentlicht Auszüge davon - auf Englisch.
Darwin/Australien, den 13. Januar 2016 - Von Ana Bakran
"What does it take to be a single woman hitchhiker: 36 tipps for a solo female hitchhiker"
1. You’ll be told it’s very dangerous for a woman.
That’s one of the most annoying lines and you’ll hear it over and over and over again. Don’t get spooked. Hitchhiking alone is not more dangerous for a woman than it is for a man if you adjust to the culture you’re in and pick your rides wisely. Staying in your comfort zone and only lurking at the world through a TV or a computer is more dangerous as it gives you that feeling of a false security while spooking you out about the real world…which only makes you stay right where you are, on your sofa in front of the TV consuming the messages that are directed at you. But that’s the whole other topic, so let’s get back to the present one.
This traditional view of a woman seen as being fragile and someone who needs the man’s assistance to go through life is still very present in many countries and it might be one of the reasons why people will try to help you rather than harm you. Thank them for their concerns, but follow your path.
Soon you’ll realise there are people like you and me, everywhere. There are no hordes of psycho killers just cruising the streets and looking to kill you. You are not in a movie.
I’m not saying that hitchhiking alone doesn’t come without any risk. I’m saying you shouldn’t give your fear a power. You might be weaker psychically, but not mentally. Be prepared and don’t let your fear in a way of your life. You will be all right.
2. You’ll be told it’s very easy to hitchhike when you’re a pretty girl.
Being pretty has nothing to do with hitchhiking. Being (reasonably) clean, (reasonably) smiley and sane while hitchhiking will take you further. Playing an instrument or juggling by the road won’t harm either. Being pretty won’t help you much if you look grumpy or scared shitless while standing by the road. And pretty by whose standards? I hitchhiked through China looking like a pregnant woman after massacring a candy store and I’ve never hitchhiked so many sports cars in my life. Tall, small, skinny, fat or whatever you look like, just remember that your ride will come.
3. You’ll be asked why you are alone.
As if you were missing a body part, you will be asked why, why, why are you traveling alone, where is your friend, your boyfriend or a husband? As if you were completely incapable of breathing without anyone’s assistance. The truth is you will never be completely alone. There will be the locals that will approach you on the street, the drivers that will give you a lift, the travelers you will come across in a hostel, a bar, a street or via couchsurfing or some random passengers/expats you’ll stumble upon when least expected. Traveling alone comes with a freedom to choose your way and change it in a split of a second just to have another change of a heart 2 minutes later only if you want it so and it’s mad brilliant!
4. People will try to set you up with a boyfriend, marry you (especially in the countries where a man can have more wives) or offer you a very direct 'business-marriage' proposal.
Especially if you are holder of EU passport that happen to travel in some of politically and economically more unfortunate countries. A simple ring around your finger and a convincing story about your husband that is waiting for you in XY city should get you out of (all of the above) trouble.
5. You’ll be asked whether you are scared of the police.
There are some more closed down countries, like Turkmenistan and Burma where I wasn’t sure what the police reaction was going to be on my hitchhiking through their territory. In general, the police should protect people, so if you’re not doing anything bad-ass they will probably check your passport and leave you alone.
In China, they’ll pick you up and take you to a better hitchhiking spot and in Iran they’ll get so worried about your safety, they’ll take you to the police station and 5 (wasted) hours later they’ll find a translator who will tell you 'Don’t worry Miss, you are safe now'.
There are few countries in which it is illegal to hitchhike on the highway and the police will come to warn you about it (or give you a ticket), just remember that a smile and a polite & positive attitude goes a long way. Police should be the least of your worries.
6. People will ask isn’t it very dangerous for a woman to hitchhike alone through (more strict) Muslim countries.
From my own experience, you should definitely be more careful, but it’s not impossible. Keep in mind that your presence and attitude is also influencing their culture and changing their opinion about women. Make your presence a worthwhile. Very old women’s trick for hitchhiking through strict Muslim countries is to always wear a period pad even if you are not menstruating. If you’ve been attacked and you’re about to get raped, this pad might be your life and health saver as most Muslims restrain from the intercourse during women’s period.
Als ein wichtiger Kunde Insolvenz anmeldete und Ana Bakran ihre eigene Agentur schließen musste, packte sie ihren Rucksack und setzte ein lang gehegten Traum in die Tat um: per Anhalter von Zagreb nach Bora Bora. Seit 2013 ist die Kroatin durch 22 Länder gereist.
Der vollständige Reisebericht mit "36 Tipps für Alleinreisende per Anhalter" ist hier erschienen.