A friend and I were talking about hitch-hiking when I first heard about Pippa Bacca. Unfortunately the story is not particularly encouraging or uplifting, but one I feel is necessary to share with Travelettes. (To read the New York Times article where I got most of my information, click here.)

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In 2008, Italian performance artists Pippa Bacca and Silvia Moro hit the road on a hitch-hiking trip that would take them through Italy, some of the Balkan region, and into the Middle East. However, their trip was not just about transportation. The women traveled in wedding gowns and called themselves, “Brides on Tour.” Their mission was to trust in people as much as possible, to humble themselves to others and carry a message of peace throughout their journey. It was meant to culminate with a final showing and performance in Tel Aviv.

The two did not get a chance to finish the tour. They split up when leaving Istanbul, intending to meet again in Beirut. Pippa went missing shortly after and it was quickly found that she had been raped and murdered by a man who had offered her a ride just outside of a small Turkish village.

Pippa’s family and friends were determined not to let this terrible crime ruin the message of the trip, stating their belief that this was one deranged man and that we are vulnerable to such crimes everywhere. I’ve found the comments on various articles and forums very intriguing. Some people praise her as a heroine, a woman who gave her life for her belief in the goodness of people and refused to tolerate a world where women must be afraid to travel freely. Others criticized her harshly for being naïve and foolish,  going as far as calling her a westerner with no sense of reality. Still others made comments that turned the crime into an issue of the region and said some quite ignorant things. It saddens me to see such fighting over a woman who was murdered while trying to be peaceful. I’m curious to hear what other travelettes think and feel about this.

post by Jackie Clark