Sometimes I wish I was a boy. It feels as if the whole business of traveling would be so much easier, especially if I travel to countries where the thought of a female professional is absurd, not to mention a solo traveler. It can be tiring always having to think of choosing the upper bunk in the hostel dorm to avoid a drunken roommate "accidentally" ending up crashing into it at four o clock in the morning for a bit of "cozy time", remembering which nationalities you can smile at without it meaning you're up for everything and the ever present thought of "how do I avoid getting raped?"
Sometimes I wish I was a brunette. In fact I wish I could look like my friend of African, Mediterranean and Germanic descent. She possesses an ability to pass by unnoticed in a large percentage of the world, blending with the locals without problems. I on the other hand, with my blonde hair and fair skin, get stared and shouted at as soon as I go south of Switzerland.
Yes, being a boy of mixed ethnicity would probably make travel a lot easier. I would Couchsurf my way across the world and try living with the locals in Morocco, India and Peru without worries. My mother probably wouldn't stare at me with horror struck eyes as I express my wish to travel Central America.
When I look at what I do have however, these issues quickly fade in to the background. I'm from one of the richest countries in the world. I do not pay for my education and I can even study for my degree in four different countries if I so wish. As a young woman I have the opportunity to work and save my own money and go travel to the other side of the world. How many 22-year old girls throughout the world can say the same?
Travel has taught me to appreciate what I have and what I have been given more than anything else. Because even though at times it can be so utterly and frustratingly difficult, I also know that the mere fact that I’m able to travel this way shows how privileged I am. So I try not to take even the small things for granted. I try to stop for a few minutes every day to allow myself to just feel grateful for all that I have and for a while put everything else aside. I try not to upset myself over bagatelles. And I am a much happier, calm and healthy-minded person because of it.