After spending a disastrous year at school where I was mentally traumatized by one of my male professors who always picked on me, I decided I needed a break. This professor simply picked on me because he did not like me, even though I was attending all classes, participating in all of his classes and doing my best, he always found a reason to yell at me in class without any merit. This led me to have a great depression. I began to doubt every single part of my academic abilities: writing, reading, even TALKING. For more than a year I had to endure a great mental punishment that I had never previously encountered. When the academic year ended I needed to recharge my batteries, so I went on a travelling adventure.
When summer arrived I decided that it is time to do what I do best: TRAVEL. Travelling has always been the best form of therapy for myself.As always I decided to travel alone, except for some cities where I was going to attend two conferences and meet some friends. The conferences were about social entrepreneurship and coexistence, respectfully.
I must admit that while planning for my trip I grew a bit concerned about travelling around Europe alone, as a Muslim girl. This was because there is a lot of European/American media which spreads hate and terror stories about Muslims. I was terrified of being attacked for who I am. There was also a terrorist attack that just happened just a week before my trip in Germany.
Even with all of my concerns, , my trip turned to be the best therapy from the school trauma and what I was seeing on the media. In this holiday, I visited 9 cities in 4 different countries, and believe me; every country charmed me not only by its beauty but also by its people. Spanish for instance are warm and welcoming people.Maybe they are so friendly because of their delicious food and siestas otherwise known as midday naps. In general, most of the Spanish that I encountered were nice, two elderly men even took time to stop to tell me and my friend that we look beautiful when they noticed that we were struggling to take the perfect selfie.
In Austria and Germany there are many stereotypes of the people there like they are not so open, welcoming or fun. In fact, they were actually the nicest people I met during my trip, especially in Berlin and Munich. Sometimes people would simply take time to help me even without me asking for it.On one instance, I was lost in Munich and I did not know who to ask for help when suddenly a guy who noticed that I was lost and struggling with my map approached me and asked if he can help. The same happened in Berlin. And finally, a man in Denmark complimented my nails, and a Danish soldier smiled at me and wished me a great stay in Denmark. These little remarks really made me feel comfortable travelling alone as a female.
My trip showed me that there is still good within people and that hatred is overrated in the media. Further, I learned that the media should be responsible of spreading stories about respect, coexistence and to raise awareness about racism and hatred. The people that I met, did not care if I was a Muslim or not, all they saw in me was a human-being just like any other one else. I am so thankful for that.
What marked my trip the most was a Chinese girl whom I met in Hallsttat,Austria, she noticed that I was travelling alone, and asked me how I was able to travel alone. My response was simple: if you want to discover the real world and YOURSELF you have to travel alone because it will allow you to meet different people from different backgrounds. She added“You’re so cool for travelling alone as a girl. I believe that all girls should experience the solo travelling as it will teach them to depend on themselves, to not wait for ANYONE TO ACHIEVE THEIR DREAMS. We’re told at young ages that marriage is the woman’s ultimate dream, but HEY, discovering the world and building your own future is the ULTIMATE DREAM.”