Monday, February 4, 2013

Reservations and Security

I’ve wanted to take an uber-stimulating international vacation by myself this winter to check out a whole new scene, moving at my own tempo, with no one slowing me down or speeding me up. The dream began to disintegrate within a few weeks of its conception, as I resented the airfares associated with the first five or six cities that I came up with - and still do.

Last weekend, a vision of Istanbul popped into my head and wouldn’t pop off. I saw myself getting jacked up on strong Turkish coffee before strolling through a souk to bargain for spices, bracelets, and rugs. I love a souk state of mind, and the prices of the Istanbul flights seemed too reasonable to be true. The only thing keeping me from pulling out my debit card and snapping one up was the uncertainty about traveling alone in that part of the globe. I have a female friend who’s been to this city on business and for pleasure. She considers it safe enough, but I decided not to go.

The very next day, one of the first news bulletins I read reported on a 33-year-old New York-based woman who was vacationing solo in Turkey and had gone missing. Her husband and brother were flying to Istanbul to help with the search efforts. A couple of days ago, she was found dead, near some ancient ruins, and another vision planted itself in my head – the day an unescorted woman can even semi-carefreely take advantage of a cheap flight that’s headed to any spot on any map won’t dawn in my lifetime. 

5 comments:

  1. That's disturbing. I often wish I could just book a flight and leave tomorrow. And I usually feel that way about South America (because SA Passport Holders don't need any visas)- but I'm often reminded that South America isn't a place for a woman traveling alone. The sadness.

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  2. Oh, so sorry that incident has put you off. These indicidents are rare in most parts of the world and can just as easily happen to a man in a supposedly civilised city like Liverpool. My wife has done the occasional unescorted visit to foreign parts and no harm done (except she wants to do it even more!). I do hope you change your mind and manage to fulfil one of your dreams.

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  3. Yes...we the female of the species do need an Indiana Jones to go to certain places of the globe...not that I mind, of course, even though he is getting old as I am, oh well...so goes life.

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  4. I'm thinking there is an additional component to the death of the American woman who traveled to Turkey and was murdered. She was there on a photography trip...photography was cited in the news as her hobby. I suspect she was carrying expensive professional-style equipment, the type of thing a bad guy would want to steal, regardless of the gender of the owner. A quick smash and grab, which, unfortunately, resulted in death for the woman. Or...possibly she photographed the "wrong" thing...an acquaintance of mine (a man) photographed a woman on the streets of Pakistan. Her male escort drew a gun, and the photographer had to do some quick and fancy talking. Later, in India, this photographer was taking pictures of the Festival of Ganesh, while the statue was being carried into the water. A group of teenage boys surrounded him and were trying to drown him for disrespecting the god, until, luckily, an older Indian man stopped them. Speaking of technological kinds of things, there has been an uptick in crime in New York as people rip the iPhone and iPad from other people's hands on the street. Now...all of this is not to say that women are as safe as men while traveling. Sadly, I have to agree that's not the case at all.

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  5. Aw. I know what you mean. I think I'd probably do the same thing...or not. It all depends. Just make sure that whatever you do is right for you and that you're not ignoring your instincts, which in this case you weren't doing. When it feels right to go, whether you'll be travelling solo nor with a friend, you'll know it. (Wow, platitudinous much?! Heh.) Also, I'd looooooooove to see Istanbul and the coastline of Turkey. One day, one day!

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