Being a traveller, or in my case being known for travelling a lot, a question I get asked very often is “Aren´t you scared?” or “Isn´t it dangerous?”
And to this I have to reply yes and no.
Every situation is specific, every country is specific but I made a promise to myself and that is that I will never let fear rule my decision.
I will not let fear be an obstacle for what I want to do or see.
Guess that is a reason why I travel to places where most people don’t go because they are afraid or they associate the name with something they have been feed through media.
Some countries that I really wanna visit is Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and North Korea.
Because of the thrill.
But also because I don’t know any person who have been there.
I find blogs or articles and I skim through media and alternative sources to find information.
Unfortunately what media is feeding us is just one way angled, the bad way angle, the dangerous angle.
You need to be able to find alternative media sources and compare them and try to figure out what is the real deal.
Some places that I go to can be dangerous but is mostly safe if you know how to do and act and don’t put yourself in unnecessary situations.
I have worked in security before and I´ve learnt to always scan my surroundings when I get to a new place.
To know where is the closest “safe” place, where are escape doors, emergency exists and so on. How do people act and how do they react.
Some parts of the world where I have travelled I have been seen like a big money bag.
Everyone tries to get their share of money out of you and that can be dangerous as well.
But you need to be safe and feel secure yourself.
I usually make the comparison of a car burglar.
If a person want to steal a car, he will not go for a car that has an alarm but rather go for the car that don’t have one.
Meaning that if you believe that you will become a victim and therefore are afraid of it, then that will easily be seen on you and it will be taken advantage of and you will become a victim.
If you instead are showing a strong and confident outer image, people will avoid to try to bring you any harm or make you a victim.
It’s really simple psychology.
I often hear women complain that it is dangerous to travel alone as a single female.
Unfortunately we are living in a male dominated world and in some parts women are not so respected as they should due to male domination as well as religious and social influences.
Still, I have plenty of female friends who are travellers and who travel alone and never had any problems even when travelling through areas famous for not being “safe”.
And why did they manage to do this and still continue to travel like this?
Because they are strong and independent characters.
They will not allow to be taken advantage off.
My best advise to the women who are afraid, and in this case let fear rule their decisions, is to get a better self-confidence and not believe everything they read or hear.
Get real facts.
Speak to people who have travelled through the areas, but not just one opinion but several, as everyone have a different experience.
Another advice is to get some basic self-defence practice.
If people knew how much damage you can make with a pair of keys for example.
There is so much you can do for yourself to become a more confident person but mostly you need to be street wise.
Make sound decisions and don’t put yourself into unnecessary situations.
Now we come to the point which I feel is one of the most important stuff when it comes to personal safety while travelling.
Unfortunately this is the easiest way for a perpetrator to throw you out of your feet.
A vacation is usually about having fun and be away to relax from your regular life wherever you may live.
For some reason alcohol is always connected with vacation and relaxing.
This is something that is used by persons who see you as a target.
Look at yourself and think. Do you really need alcohol to relax?
An open drink is so easy to drop some drugs into.
If you feel the need to drink, drink beer in bottles.
They are harder to drop something into.
Always, always, and I can not stress this too much, always keep track of your beer bottle or drink. If you go dancing you can hold your beer bottle in your hand.
If you have a drink in an open glass, it’s not so comfortable to dance with the glass in your hand and even if you do, the glass is large enough for someone to slip something into it without you noticing it. Even on a dance floor.
I hardly ever drink alcohol when I travel, just beer or if I try a sip of local alcohol.
But I never go out and drink alcohol to the point that I get wasted or have no clue what I do, because that makes me to become a very easy target. I like to be in control of the situation.
If you still are getting mugged or robbed, you must understand that the person that is robbing you are under a huge amount of stress.
Not just because he is threatening you but also because he/she is afraid of being caught as well.
Dont fight against, NEVER fight against as an animal that is cornered and under stress will always attack, so will a robber.
For your own personal safety it is ALWAYS advised to have a “fake” wallet that you hand over to get rid of the person fast by getting him to believe that he got that he wanted and disappear and you can put yourself into safety and report the incident to local police.
If you say you have no money then you will add further stress to the robber who will then demand to see all your belongings.
The longer time this whole thing will take the more stress you will add to the situation putting yourself into more danger as well with the risk to get hurt.
If this happen you need to think about your own personal safety first in all possible ways.
You are the only one responsible for your own security by your own judgement and decisions. Dont put yourself into any unnecessary situations if you are not in control.