Travel, though the epitome of escapism, can be a feat within itself. Solo travel, though also enjoyable and empowering, can also be an uphill struggle. Solo travel as a WOMAN can be a molehill and a mountain. Especially within a different town. Or country. Or continent.
Or one step further, with an accent or a distinct LANGUAGE BARRIER. #TheStruggleIsImminent.
In my case, I moved 5,000+ miles (it really seemed longer with the 14 hour flight and 12 hour layover and all, but I digress) to Honduras –
the world murder capital at the time-, on my lonesome, in order to teach the wonderful, borrowed, unnecessarily complex language of English. By my 5ft, fun-sized self.
My level of spoken Español, (though not required for the
questionable job) is what I would describe as survival Spanish, however I could comfortably say that I was intermediate in reading/writing. On my travels, this presented a handful of issues as there were clearly language gaps that my survival Spanish and the local limited knowledge of English, could not facilitate. There are only so many hand gestures, demonstrations, drawings and alternate ways of asking a question you can use before you realize that A) The question/query/point is beyond comprehension…
or B) you just decide to give up.
Yet, I travelled via boat, public bus, taxi, plane and ferry, with my survival Spanish in tow and managed to navigate the country (and neighboring islands- Roatan stand up!) with an impressive level of ease. “How?” you ask?! Here’s how:
Many people I have encountered that were; bilingual or learning a language, entertaining a lover with a foreign language, the list goes on- revealed that when trying to convey something difficult, they became embarrassed because they either thought that they appeared unintelligent, or became shy, ran out ideas or even became frustrated.
The solution to this is simple: find another way to EXPRESS yourself (duh duh, duh duh duh duh duh, duh nuh, nuh nuh nuh nuh)! With an ounce of patience and sometimes creativity, (I had to use song lyrics, google translate- when Wi-Fi permitted-, doodling and high school drama techniques to explain myself at times) push through the ego & push through the awkwardness. It is more admirable that you are trying to learn something new and like everything else, it takes time and creates invaluable lessons and memories.
In my case, I left almost feeling fluent enough star in my own novella or salsa down a runway.
Ever been in a compromising situation? How did you express yourself?