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#ViajoSola – I Travel Alone (Rest In Peace Maria & Marina)

The hashtag #ViajoSola is roughly translated to mean “I Travel Alone.” It has been used by Solo Travellers for some time to mark their liberating adventures around the world. However, it now being used to remember two young Argentinian backpackers who were murdered while travelling through Ecuador.

María Coni, 22, and Marina Menegazzo, 21 were undoubtedly enjoying their travels when they met a pair of men who offered them a place to stay after they had run out of money. By police accounts, these men would end u ending Maria and Marina’s lives. To further victimize these young women, people began blaming them for being murdered. Some demented social media users deemed the women foolish for accepting help from strangers, and determined that perhaps being naive was justification for their deaths.

While still in college, I heard a number of my friends tell me about their travels abroad, and many had similar experiences, where their money ran out before their adventure did. Many of these friends were men, and they also accepted help from strangers. The difference is they survived and many tell their stories with smiles and laughter. Maria and Marina are dead.

Sadly, if my backpacking male friends had tragically been murdered, would anyone have blamed them for another human being callously ending their lives?

This story is beyond heartbreaking. These young ladies were free, trusting, and not yet jaded by the world. They did not deserve this.

I have travelled alone. Just this past September, I travelled to Tokyo, by myself. It was such an amazing experience, although people called me insane for doing so. I felt liberated, and far safer than I did most days while at home. Although I did my research, and found the city to be statistically one of the safest places on the planet, that is not to say that there was no possibility of danger. True, we cannot dictate how the monsters among us will behave, but we cannot blame their victims. All of the research and planning in the world cannot stop a monster, and they can lurk just about anywhere.

I hope that other women are not deterred to travel the world because of such heinous acts, because that would mean the monsters win.

Yes, there are some safety precautions that should be considered when travelling that can minimize potential dangers, but it is never ok to blame victims for ‘should have, could have, would have’ scenarios.

I will post a separate article on my experiences with Solo Travel at a later time.

For now, I simple hope that Maria and Marina rest on in peace.

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