Every time I tell my mom I’m going on a trip, for work or vacation, she always tells me to be careful. I usually role my eyes and think “yeah ok whatever, you’ve never gone past Jamaica so you don’t know anything” but I realize I’m being a stroppy bitch and that she just is expressing her concern for me. And more and more each day, with all the horrible stories in the news, safety really is a concern.
When I first went abroad, I was a travel virgin for all intents and purposes. I have been told to keep my bag close. Ignore aggressive sales people and stick close to the group. I did all of the above. Except for the whole purse rule which in turn got my purse stolen but that’s another story for another day.
The world is in a state of heightened turmoil at the moment. Gradually getting worse since 9/11. So despite all my eye rolling, I know that safety is an issue and I must be vigilant about being aware of my surroundings (something I clearly wasn’t doing when I got my purse stolen)….
Lately in the news, women specifically have been told to stay away from various locations and there are even some locations both men and women are told to avoid. I think you can figure out those places for yourself. Heeding warnings is a good thing. Checking with other travelers and seeing if there is anything they would advise against is a good call as is checking with various government for any warnings they may issue.
But this can only do so much. It is up to each person, individually to be responsible for their own safety, which can take many different forms. As stated before, I am highly vigilant when traveling. I may look like a normal tourist but what people don’t know is what’s going on inside my head. Observing all people. Making mental notes of odd behavior. Obviously this is a great start.
Some people would say bring a weapon (a very U.S. mentality). Doing that can be like playing Russian roulette. If you are going to bring any type of personal protection; knife, gun, or pepper spray, you should definitely look up what is considered illegal and legal in all of these places (I’ll post some links below). One of my favorite go to personal protection devices is a screecher. This is a legal device anywhere because it’s like an air horn or bull horn but at an ear drum splitting frequency. Natural instinct is to get away from whatever is making such a noise so that gives you time.
Knowing key self defense moves is a definite plus. You hit anyone in the eyes, throat, stomach (go hard) or groin and they’ll go down. Do any one of those while using the screecher buys you even more time.
But most of all use common sense! That’s were 99% of people get themselves into trouble. If you wouldn’t do something at home, like walking alone at night, then don’t do it abroad. If you actively avoid the sketchy parts of your city back home, then why in the hell would you do any differently in a city you are completely unfamiliar with?
My point in all this, bring along whatever you think you made need to defend yourself with at your own peril of course, use you’re fucking brain…. And don’t necessarily buy into all the negative news. Do you research before hand.