Women Travel Latin America interviewed Alone Together contributing author Rebecca Hoffmann about her travels through the region and what inspires her to share her stories.
What inspired you to write your story for Alone Together?
I was inspired to write my story by an experience I had with an acquaintance who visited me in Buenos Aires and went missing from the airport before her departure back to Europe. I have travelled alone since I was eighteen years old, and have done things that, looking back, might not seem the smartest; hitchhiking alone home in the middle of the night in Havana, picking up taxis from the street on early mornings in Bogotá (every Colombian you ask will tell you to book a taxi through an app), but nothing has ever happened to me.
So this experience was a wake-up call for me about the things that can happen to you in Latin America. It was also a story I thought I needed to share with other women to give them a clear example of how disappearances happen, and how our own actions and decisions can change everything.
Why do you think women should travel Latin America?
Latin America is a beautiful and culturally rich region, and there are so many places to visit and something for every taste; from cosmopolitan cities to desert-like landscapes for as long as the eye can see, from towering mountains to ever-green rain forests. There simply isn’t a reason why you as a woman should not experience that! Get on that plane right now!
What is your best memory of your Latin America adventure, and why?
Oh, there are so many! One of the most magical experiences was probably something as simple as a bus ride through the mountains in Colombia to visit the little village of Jardin, which is surrounded by mountain tops and coffee plantations. The green mountains covered with clouds and the small villages dotted on like colorful blobs of paint was just magical (okay, I admit that being from a completely flat country might have added to my fascination for mountains)
Describe the region in three words.
- Identity-crisis (Do we feel attached to the US? To Europe? Or to something particularly Latin American – but then what?)
What advice would you give to a woman considering a trip to Latin America?
Be aware of the cultural setting you are in! Most Latin American countries have highly male chauvinistic cultures, and the chances that you alone will be able to change this mindset is very low. Try to find a middle way between respecting their culture and respecting yourself. It is okay to say no, to be strong-minded and walk away from situations you don’t feel comfortable in. But don’t try to give everyone you meet a lesson on how they should live their life. Each region has a different history and cultural background, and when travelling (or living) in Latin America we need to take that into account.