Do they mean us? Travel tips don’t reflect who we are

The other day I was asked to talk to an American freelance reporter who was working on an article about travel tips for women visiting the Emirates. I agreed, in part because I remembered my first morning in Abu Dhabi, when I had to find a cab and get to an early-morning school tour. In my jet-lagged haze, I wandered out to the street, not sure where I was going or whether a taxi would stop for me. I didn’t feel unsafe – it was broad daylight, after all – but as I tried to flag down a taxi, I felt noticed in a way that I never did on the streets of New York. The scrutiny unsettled me: what was I doing to draw attention? Now, five years later, I know that in all likelihood it wasn’t my stunning beauty that caused the looks but just the fact that I was a western woman hailing a taxi…

Originally written for The National. Read the full piece here.