By Maroi ECH-CHARKAOUY
Oct 5, 2016
After spending a disaster year at school where I was mentally tortured by one of my male professors simply 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 had a way to yell at me in class without any reason. This had led me to a great depression; I doubted every single part of my abilities: writing, reading, even TALKING, for more than a year I had to endure a great mental punishment that I had never encountered.
So when summer arrived I decided that it is time to do what I do best: TRAVELLING. Travelling was and still is my therapy, and as always I decided to travel alone, except for some cities where I was going to attend two conferences (one about social entrepreneurship and the other about coexistence) and meet some friends.
I must admit that while planning for my trip I grew a bit skeptical about travelling around Europe alone as a Muslim girl when every single European/American media is spreading hate and terror stories about Muslims. I was terrified of being attacked for who I am and/or to be attacked in some terrorist attack especially that one happened just a week before my trip in Germany.
Though, my trip turned to be the best therapy from all of the school trauma and the Media hatred. I visited 9 cities in 4 different countries, and believe me; every country will charm you not only by its beauty but also by its people. Spaniards for instance are so welcoming people, maybe because of the delicious food and naps, but in general most of the Spaniards 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’re struggling to take the perfect selfie.
In Austria and Germany, where people are stereotypes as not so open/welcoming/fun, they were actually the most nicest people that I met during my trip, especially in Germany- both in Berlin and Munich- people simply take time to help you even without asking for it sometimes; 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 as well. And finally, a man in Denmark complimented my nails, and a Danish soldier smiled at me and wished me a great stay in Denmark.
My trip showed me that there is still good in people, that hatred is overrated in Media, and that the Media should be responsible of spreading stories about respect, coexistence and to raise awareness about racism and hatred. All of the people that I met did not care if I was a Muslim or not, all they saw was a human like any other one and 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 am travelling alone, and asked me how do I do it, 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.
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