A couple of days before I left for my holiday from South Africa to Europe, a report was released, titled “The Worst (& Safest) Countries For Solo Female Travel in 2019”
Low and behold, I was leaving the most dangerous country in the world for a female solo traveller to visit, to the safest country according to the list, Spain.
I felt a sense of comfort that I was heading to a safe zone, especially because I was going to be travelling alone, but at the same time I felt incredibly sad that the country I call home is in such a bad state.
It was even more depressing to return to South Africa, with the news of more missing and murdered women – during Women’s Month of all months. It really got me down.
Things I Could Do In Europe, That I Can’t Do In South Africa
Being a woman living in South Africa, I have become accustomed to looking behind my shoulder around every corner. Like most South Africans, I have been a victim of crime in this country and naturally, my back is always up!
So even when I was in Spain, I was still a bit edgy in public spaces at first. But soon I realised how relaxed and carefree everyone was around me.
There were a few things that stood out for me. It was the things that a female (or even a male for that matter) cannot do in safety in South Africa. Sadly…
I used public transport
It’s no secret that travelling by public transport in South Africa is not the safest, nor is it reliable.
I didn’t have a car during my holiday. The train, bus, tram and taxi were my means of transport!
I haven’t used any form of Public transport in South Africa for a very long time.
So that was a weird feeling for me.
I could go for an outdoor run at 7am ALONE
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On my first run in Spain, I kept looking behind my shoulder. But all I saw was other runners and walkers. Everybody was just enjoying the sunrise, the birds chirping and the ocean breeze.
Here, I was looking for people hiding around the corners with knives. But there was nothing to be afraid of, I soon realised.
I could walk around late at night
Spain really comes alive at night in the Summer. Blame it on the siesta, but everyone is in a party mood in the evenings when it gets a bit cooler. The streets are busy, restaurants are full and there is just a really nice party vibe going on.
Families are walking about with their prams, kids are laughing have fun and everyone is just socialising.
I could walk about on my own without any fear.
Beach Body Confidence
Body confidence in Spain is on another level, be in on the beach or on the streets. People have no issues going topless to get that perfect tan, nor do they lack confidence in any outfit.
At first I thought it was a cultural thing, but I soon realised that there is no subconscious fear in their minds.
There is no fear of being harassed, no fear of being hurt and no concern about anybody watching!
Isn’t it weird how we have to give up simple pleasures like these, just to be able to survive in South Africa?