Sierra, the American woman killed while on vacation in Turkey, has captured my
attention, as it has so many other people around the world.
story is because, like Sierra, I was traveling alone in a Muslim country
(Morocco) when the news of her disappearance first broke, and because, again
like Sierra, I am a wife and mother of two who left her family at home in
pursuit of what I refer to as my “jobby” – a little more than a hobby, and a
little less than a job.
the news stories about this tragedy are disheartening, revealing racism, Xenophobia and an antiquated view of marriage and
motherhood. Those comments questioning
how Sierra’s husband could “let” her travel alone, or suggesting that she was
“irresponsible” or “selfish” for pursuing her passion, really struck a nerve.
comments from an article on Huffington Post:
“She should have been at
Disneyland with her kids, not in a country where Americans are hated”.
“Can we say ‘irresponsible’?
Her poor little children”
“Why did she have to go alone?
For a HOBBY? REALLY? Where are her priorities?”
“What ‘mother’ leaves her
children to ‘explore’ her hobby?”
“I won’t let my wife travel
much attention, if not more, than being a woman – I never felt unsafe.
I took precautions that would help keep me safe anywhere, but specifically in a
country whose traditions and customs differ from those of both my native
country and the country in which I reside.
- Not wearing flashy jewelry
- Wearing clothing that is appropriate for the destination, and doesn’t draw negative and unnecessary attention
- Being conscious of where I
went, and careful not to go to areas/neighborhoods off the beaten path
- Carrying a bag with a strap
that went across my body
- Not staying out too late in
the evenings, and having evening meals in restaurants in well-lit areas that were in
close proximity to my hotel
common sense, something I consider to be a travel necessity, and which I will take with me
on my next solo travel adventure. Because believe me, there will be a next time.