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Women travelling with Servas

This article by Raffaella Rota from Italy is the first in a series of stories about women’s experiences travelling with Servas. The stories appear on, on Facebook and other social media. Please enjoy!

Jonny Sågänger, President, Servas International


A Wanderer Along the Coast of Portugal

by Raffaella Rota, Servas Italy

My backpack is ready. Only what is absolutely necessary is inside. I like to travel “light”, with a very few things with me, like ancient nomads or Alpine explorers. I love to travel alone. I love to travel on foot and by bicycle. I feel free, full of adrenaline, independent. Really surrounded by creation... the blue sky, the quiet sea, the strong wind and sometimes the rain... but also people all around me. Now I am leaving for a couple of weeks for a short holiday. The trip will lead me to Oporto, in Portugal, for the first time, and then, on foot, for an adventurous walk along the Douro river, the ocean coast and woody paths... direction north, toward Finisterre. I am travelling alone, with no GPS, in a country I don’t know. Several thoughts in my mind. Shall I reach my goal? Shall I miss my home, my family, my friends? Shall I be up to the situation... facing unknown people, unexpected events and bad weather? Shall I handle the anxiety of this trip that’s not so well-organised? But I have a strong feeling inside. I am part of an international network, Servas, which can make you feel at home everywhere you are. In Oporto somebody is waiting for me, by coincidence another “single” woman, Teresa, whom I am meeting for the first time. She will freely share with me her time, her stories, her feelings. Servas is a dream! Servas is a revolutionary dream of a new lifestyle based on welcoming, on “taking care”, on “feeling part of a single humanity”, with a unique project to build a new world of peace and justice.


Raffaella Rota of Servas Italy has written a contribution in a series of articles describing women’s experiences travelling with Servas.


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