Two White Girls At the Back of the Bus

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

20140119-154638.jpg

“Go away!” Milea, a nineteen year old solo traveler from Oregon and I yelled rather angrily at the Nepali man who had just laid his hand on my knee. He awkwardly scooted away as half of the other passengers turned around and glared at him. After seven hours of constant attention we were more than ready to find a hotel, lock the door, and shut out the world around us.

We are both young solo females traveling through Asia, and we both love it. We love the invitations us as females receive from local women and we love the freedom we have to explore villages without relying on anyone else. And we both hate it as well. We hate the starring and inappropriate comments from men. We hate feeling stressed or worried constantly, because even though neither of us have had anything bad happen, the possibility is always there. And most of all, we hate the constant attention that follows us around wherever we are, finding us even at the back of the bus.

It was nighttime, and the small light up above us kept flickering in and out, creating an ominous ambiance in the back corner where we were confined. Throughout the ride we had many men try and sit next to us, a few “accidentally” touch our legs or arms, and more still who just stared, making us feel uncomfortable and irritated. And in itself, a bus ride like this isn’t so bad. There were always plenty of people, including women as passengers, and we never felt truly threatened, but after months of moments such as these we both felt tired and annoyed by the constant discomfort of being a western women in this part of the world.

Though I think solo travel is essential for everyone at some point, I am now more than ready to have my boy friend join me in March. For the next week I will continue to travel with Milea as we visit the temples in Lumbini before heading to Kathmandu to volunteer in an orphanage run by two of her teachers from back home in Oregon.

6 thoughts on “Two White Girls At the Back of the Bus

  1. Sorry to hear this is happening for you, it seems almost inevitable that this kind of thing is a constant around the world and very sad that women travelling without men have to suffer it, also please don’t assume that it won’t happen when your boyfriend is with you, i have noticed that unless there is a clear understanding that couples are married then it is presumed that women and on occasion men are fair game. I have experienced this with my girlfriend when travelling in India and I have seen it in Africa. Generally it’s not more than bothersome but sometimes you just snap.
    Good luck anyway and I hope it gets easier for you.

    • Yeah we will be telling people we are married just to make things easier, but I do realize that the attention won’t disappear. I think I will have an easier time coping with it though if I have someone to talk about it with, someone who is experiencing it with me!

  2. Shirine have been following your journey through the blog. I can relate to your bus experiences from traveling by myself in South America, and also from time in India. Hang in there!
    Quote by Kurt Vonnegut

  3. I really feel for you. Unfortunately, this happens everywhere, not only in Nepal. You can read all about it on everydaysexism.com This stuff should be taught in schools, it’s a disgrace what’s going on. It’s strange so many people can go through the school system and never hear about such an important issue. I wonder if we should seriously re-think what how schools should be organised and what should be discussed (rather than thought) there. As you mentioned before, travelling is a great way to learn, maybe that should be part of the curriculum, too, along with discussions about sexism, racism and other forms of oppression.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s