Viajosola – Why Women Should Never Stop Travelling Solo
Several weeks ago, two young Argentine women were brutally attacked and murdered while backpacking in Ecuador’s coastal area of Montanita.
Maria Coni, 22, and Marina Menegazzo, 21, had run out of money while travelling through South America. A friend put them in touch with two men, who they thought would offer them a place to stay. Instead the men sexually assaulted the pair, before murdering them and dumping their bodies.
Sadly, in the wake of the tragedy there were many people who were inclined to blame the victims of this terrible attack, rather than the perpetrators. One controversial opinion offered by Argentine psychiatrist Hugo Marietan was that the women “took a risk” by travelling in “parts of the world that are not ready for the full freedom of the woman”.
He went on to say: “Women, you are also responsible for your preservation. Do [you] serve your feminist theories in that final moment?”
In response to those blaming the victims for what happened, one woman wrote an impassioned Facebook post from the perspective of the two women. Guadalupe Acosta from Paraguay sparked a social media outcry with her words:
- “From the moment I had my lifeless body, nobody asked where he was, the son of a gun…
- No, they started asking me useless questions…
- What clothes you had on?
- Why are you alone?
- How a woman is going to travel without company?
- You got yourself in a dangerous neighbourhood, what did you expect?
But to be a woman, the crime is minimized. Becomes less serious, because of course, I asked for it. Doing what I wanted, I got what I deserved for not being submissive, for not wanting to stay in my house, for investing my own money in my dreams.”
The Facebook post has been shared over 730,000 times, and the hashtag #viajosola – Spanish for “I travel alone” – trended on Twitter worldwide.
Acosta’s words touched a nerve with female travellers across the globe. Independent women who travel to broaden their minds, to learn and to grow, and for the sheer joy of it began posting inspiring viewpoints and photos of themselves travelling solo.
- #Viajosola because my gender has nothing to do with my desire to see the world @SammyLT
- #viajosola because you will never know who you truly are until you do so @jomanaElwenni
- #viajosola because my love for seeing the world & its cultures shouldn’t be jeopardized by the fact I’m a woman @twiitterlessDad
- Travelling alone is my joy in life, not an invitation for man to rob, rape and murder me #viajosola @coreen085
- Gender shouldn’t be a barrier from the world #Viajosola @TwinsWade
- #viajosola because the world is so big and amazing – and I do not and should not need an escort… #liveloveexplore @tara_bt
Travelling is one of life’s great pleasures. Travelling alone is a truly liberating journey which nobody – man or woman – should feel afraid to embark upon. Travelling alone teaches us so much about ourselves and the world around us. We learn to be at peace in solitude, we learn to trust ourselves, and we meet likeminded people who we form deep and lasting connections with.
The random and tragic murders of backpackers like those of Maria and Marina should never be seen as the victim’s fault for daring to go out in the world unchaperoned. Dangerous viewpoints like that of Hugo Marietan should not hold women back from exploring whichever corner of the globe they choose.
To travel solo doesn’t mean to stay alone.
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Awesome Tourlina video from Monica – one of the many fans and users of Tourlina 🙂