Maybe that policemen on Transnistrian border sparked the question. Should a girl be afraid of cycling without the company of a man?
With Eva, we were always cycling until the dark so we can find our spot to camp unnoticed. I would wake up very easily thinking of the action plan in case we need it. Perhaps I also felt overprotective for both of us. Anytime I would hear a woman’s voice somewhere from a distance I would imagine that if she saw us maybe we will wake up in the morning and there will be doughnuts baked for a breakfast, on contrary, when hearing the man’s voice talking nearby I was hoping he will not discover us sleeping in our hammocks. More and more I was thinking about why the girls can not have an easy sleep. Do not take me wrong, this will not stop me from travelling, but it will always involve better and sharp planning and overthinking just because as a girl I am more likely to be seen as an easy target.
When Eva’s friend Honza joined us in Mukachevo I realized how much I calmed down. Just the feeling that somebody sees us not as two girls cycling but a group with a man cyclist, I thought we are safer. Although I was aware of how much nonsense it is because I knew that Eva would probably kick everybody’s ass better than Honza. And still, that feeling that the man will not interrupt the “territory” of another man is an animal instinct.
On our way to my auntie’s village in Slovakia, we met Jaro. The guy in his 40s cycling every day who comes from the neighbouring village of my auntie’s one. At first, he was a great company and a guide, showing us around and adding interesting stories about his region, later he became interrupting. Honza finished his trip with us and I and Eva were cycling alone again. When we were leaving the village of my aunt, we met Jaro again. That is a coincidence, he said, and joined us on our ride for another 10 km, pouring his heart to Eva. At first, we were laughing about it, we did not feel he would be harmful, rather a funny figure of the region, a bit of weirdo which is not bad at all since we might be seen as two weirdos too. It became quite serious when we said goodbye the second time and met him again in the Czech republic COINCIDENTALLY cycling the route we told him we will cycle. Maybe he was just a lonely guy. Nevertheless, it does not give him the right to stalk. I did not feel afraid of him as rather insulted that the personal space of a girl can be so easily interrupted.