I feel like this blog post should begin how my brother began every good blog post back in his day…
Beginith the rant:
All right, any who, anyone who knows me knows I’m an avid traveler.
And there is a TON of advice on the web for the solo women traveler.
A good portion of those lists of advice list “wear a fake ring”.
And you know what, I bought into that.
I have a fake ring simply for the sake of travel’s purpose.
It’s beautiful, it’s a big (cubic zirconium) diamond,
and looks a lot like the Tiffany classic setting ring.
But it costs a few bank loans less.
I bought it for my summer abroad,
cause I thought, “eh, why not?”
I had a photo of me and a guy friend saved on my phone, so if anyone ever asked to see my “fiance”
(That poor guy friend will never know he was my fake fiance for a whole summer…)
I was saying fiance, because even then I believed myself too young to be married,
Which is odd considering many of my high school classmates married that summer while I was away.
Women in stores and on trains would compliment my ring,
Ask to see my fiance’s photo.
Give marriage advice.
It was all a little surreal.
I felt like a phony.
And then, there I sat in a Berlin, Germany airport,
heading to Poland,
When a man gave me a little more attention than I was comfortable with.
Asking things and making comments that I did not feel ok with.
The movie Taken was playing in my head, and that’s no joke.
I won’t go into the full details of that,
But I’ll be 100% when I say, I. Was. Scared.
Ironically, he wasn’t a creepy Eastern European man,
He was an American.
Wouldn’t have been nice if he’d been looking out for his fellow Americans,
Because ironically, minutes prior, a German man had helped my lost self navigate through the airport.
All in all, I got out of the situation absolutely fine,
and enjoyed my time in Poland,
and went to Auschwitz, and crossed the biggest item off my bucket list.
But read that again…
I got out of the situation.
I got myself out that situation.
My fake fiance didn’t.
He was in America, and to this day is probably blissfully unaware to my almost kidnapping.
In that moment I realized, while there are nice people who can help me navigate an airport,
Ultimately I have to look out for myself.
I bought into this idea that I’d be safe under the guise of “belonging” to a man.
Honestly, I’m shocked I wasn’t kidnapped for ransom.
I mean the ring is THAT real looking.
A few months ago I was talking to another guy friend of mine
(read: not my fake fiance)
And I told him the kidnapping story, and about the ring.
And he said “you’re very wise to have a ring like that”
I know he said that because he cares about me and my safety,
But I couldn’t help but think how unfair it was that while he’s living in Germany he doesn’t have to wear a fake ring and have a fake fiance.
Or maybe he does?…
That’d be a fun story to hear.
But I’ll go on a limb and say, he isn’t faking his undying love.
I’m officially 100% over women not being able to be independent without being safe.
I want to travel this world, and quite frankly, it’s easier to travel alone most of the time.
Don’t listen to all the travel advice on the web for women,
Just listen to your gut,
Because your fake fiance can’t save you,
Only you can.
In the end,
love will save us all…
I’ll save my self.