Equiano and his compatriots were forcibly taken from their homes by the Europeans. There was no say in the matter and Equiano was virtually helpless. In contrast, the Pilgrims voluntarily left England in search of religious toleration. Moving first to Holland, the English eventually decided on the New World, fearing the “Dutchification of their children.”
Bradford and Equiano did share some similarities during their respective voyages to the New World. For each, the trip lasted for several grueling months, during which many people fell ill. The slaves and pilgrims were treated poorly by the sailors, though the English received light treatment relative to the slaves. While the Pilgrims were free to move about the Mayflower, the passenger compartments were still cramped and less than optimal. Both parties also suffered some fatalities during the trip.
Though the motivation for traveling, as well as the travel itself, differed from each account, Bradford and Equiano experienced similar mental and physical hardships. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano and Of Plymouth Plantation provide insight from several perspectives into the struggles endured as a result of European colonization. Both writers, having little in common and hailing from different parts of the world, now shared the stress of building the foundations for a new