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Sometimes I am scared. I am continuously warned about the danger of being a woman on my own. When I am cycling along the coast a persistent tuk-tuk driver comes along, in the desert two guys on a delivery trike keep reappearing, in a city an annoying motorcyclist is hovering around me and in the mountains I am stalked by two men on a moped. I do not know why they are following me, but I know that it scares me. They all give up eventually. The fear however, stays with me and I do not like how it affects me. I pick up a rock and put it in the back pocket of my jersey, keeping my right hand prepared to grab the rock and aim for someone’s head. I do long detours and think about using other modes of transportation. And I give suspicious looks to the people along the road instead of giving them my greetings.

When I am afraid I consider harming others and limiting my own freedom while becoming suspicious, prejudiced and rude. I do not want to be like that. And I do not want the men that scare me to lay their motor-vehicle-shadows over Peru and its population, because most of the people here are lovely. Like the family that I am staying with in Pacasmayo, like the single mother who gives me shelter from the rain in Shorey and like the man who opens his home to everyone who cycles past Trujillo. I still love being in their country and want to experience the rest of it with an opened mind.

The only occasions on which I’ve actually been attacked here, are by children and teenagers with water as their ammunition. The region is preparing for the upcoming carnival in Cajamarca and I get fired at by water guns in the street and hit by water balloons on the road. It will probably not be any worse than that, but I have decided to get armed too. It is nothing that I wanted, it is an act of fear. I have bought peppar spray that I put in the back pocket of my jersey, but hopefully I will continue to use my right hand for friendly waves and to squeeze the breaks while encountering all the nice people on the road.




  1. Marius Thursday, February 10, 2011, at 10:51 PM


    We met in LA, months back. You were passing by and I took a picture or two of you with your camera (pictures which you didn’t like, of course). Anyway, every now and then I check your website to see how far you got. It’s amazing. Keep doing it! You experienced so much in this past year that I think you are forever changed. I can give you no advice about stalkers (buying tear gas was probably a good idea) but I wish you, again, good luck and godspeed! Will check back again.


  2. Adele Evans Thursday, February 10, 2011, at 11:48 PM

    Hannah darling, you go girl, I am so proud of you and I am posting this blog to friends to show such courage from a young woman…be safe and live your dream…

  3. Hanna Friday, February 11, 2011, at 10:13 AM

    Marius, I am glad to have you with me. And Adele, I am so very, very glad to have you here as well. Thank you both for your encouragement and I hope you live your dreams too.

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