If I got one dollar every time people ask me if I’m not afraid to travel alone, Bill Gates would look like a bagger. Of course there is the danger factor as to everything we do, but to be frank each of us is taking risks leaving the house. Look, when you leave your house in your hometown you could get hit by a car, be robbed, be attacked, so how is your hometown different to any other place in the world? I bet that you don’t walk the streets of your hometown waving a fresh, crisp Ben Franklin, so why should you do it when you travel. Discovered that there are some habits you can adopt to make your travels exciting and safe.
Trouble, what trouble?
While practicing yoga you need to find your edge within which you can still breath and be comfortable… when you pass the edge and start tensing you pushed yourself too far and need to back out. Same is with single traveling, now the question is how to find your edge. Most importantly don’t look for trouble as if you look for trouble, it will find you. For example, don’t wear flashy jewellery or don’t walk in dodgy alleys after sunset. Use the women’s compartment in public transportation if there is one, if there isn’t be extra cautious while traveling on public transport. In case you forget the time and guided by your instinct you don’t feel comfortable walking back to your hotel, take a taxi, those 10 Euros won’t ruin your budget. From my personal experience I don’t hitchhike. Did it once in Brunei as a nice family offered to give me a lift from the Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque to the city centre and I had this weird feeling, like something isn’t wright… nothing happened but since then use only public transportation, lately uber or I rent a car… all depending on country and travel purpose.
As cliché as it might sound, watch your drink in bars, even if it means you have to take your drink to the restroom with you. When somebody offers you a drink that is not prepared or opened in front of your eyes, say NO. My usual response is – thanks I’m buying my own drinks.
It’s also good to read about typical scams before going to a country to stay alight. Plus, never leave your luggage or any valuables in a rented parked car. On a positive note however, don’t travel with the thought that the world is a dangerous place and that everybody wants to hurt you. Trust me, that’s not the case. Be careful yes, but when going to countries that live out of tourism like Cambodia, Thailand or Zanzibar imagine that locals do care the visitors are safe as their income depends on them.
I have a very good feeling about this
With time each traveller develops some kind of sixth sense… it doesn’t mean that you see dead people but it’s the voice in the back of your head or a special feeling that tells you for example, don’t take this train, wait for the next one or no, no, don’t turn right, turn left or you need to leave, leave now. Did a small research which shows that the known polish travellers have that. Tomek Michniewcz calls his instinct “Roger” and listens to him every time when on the road, Wojciech Cejrowski calls the feeling “Panic”. My voice doesn’t have a name, I simply call it my spidey sense and it awakens in the most unexpected moments.
Imagine an early, frosty New Year’s Eve morning in Guilin China. Need to take the train from Guilin North station to Zhangjiajie via Changsha. Train is scheduled for 8.46, so I have plenty of time to get there with a local bus after leaving the hotel at around 7.00… right? Wrong! Somehow the bus wasn’t arriving, which was odd as the buses were coming quite frequently and then in a split second the voice resounded… the conversation looked something like this:
Voice: look at the ticked
Alicja: what, why?
Voice: shut up and look at the ticket
Alicja: OK fine… [looking at the ticket]… ooooo shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!
It turned out the train wasn’t scheduled for 8:46 but for 8:26 and it was 7:40 already.
I needed a miracle to make it on time as firstly the station was far away, secondly the security checkpoint at the train stations in China looks similar to those at airports and thirdly trains in China depart extremely punctually. So what now? Suddenly a taxi appeared… good… the taxi driver doesn’t speak English… no problem showing her the ticket and the departure time and making gestures that she needs to step on it. Not sure how I made it not only on time but also had three full minutes for a smoke. Thank you spidey sense!
All starts in the head
Have you ever heard the phrase “speak of the devil and he shall appear” or about the law of attraction? It might sound odd but if you think that horrible things will happen to you they will happen coz you are attracting those bad scenarios, but with a positive attitude, open mind and feeling that everything will be OK bad things won’t happen. Heard somewhere that fear is a thought and you shouldn’t be afraid of your own thoughts. Lately I went to Zanzibar and don’t have much Africa experience but walking around the Nungwi village was pleasant as it has its charm and the local people are very friendly.
On the last evening when I was walking from jetski adventure back to my hotel suddenly the spidey sense flashed red alert. Thought right, brace yourself… a guy started asking where I’m from etc. thought OK this normal, people here do that and then they invite you to take a look in their souvenir shop. This time something was off the guy made an impression being either drunk or doped… spidey sense still flashing red alert. Deep breath during which immediately thought that I needed a miracle here and there it was… a yellow Jeep. The only yellow Jeep in the village that could belong only to one person, the dive shop owner I was diving with. Not losing time, popped at the driver’s side to say hi. After the quick small talk asked him discreetly if he could give me a lift to the beach coz the guy behind me is following me and it makes me uncomfortable. The owner said no problem, hop in. So much about not hitchhiking: P
Having said all that, don’t be afraid with a positive attitude, being careful and aware a world of adventure awaits ☺