Travel Solo Safely: the Gifts of fear and anger.

National Museum of Civil Rights is housed in the motel where Martin Luther King was shot.

There is fear that is debilitating – that stops you from exploring the world. Then there is fear that protects you from entering dangerous situations.

There is anger that is unproductive – that stymies your ability to enjoy wonderful people in life. Then there is anger that protects you from being taken advantage of.

It’s important to remember that emotions are neither good nor bad but, depending on how you live them, useful or not.

When traveling solo it’s important to make anger and fear useful.

Travel fear is a good thing.

My first trip after starting Solo Traveler was down the blues highway. I traveled from Chicago to New Orleans with stops in Memphis and Jackson, Mississippi, going to as many blues bars as I could. Ironically, it wasn’t at a bar that I felt fear. It was when walking to the National Museum of Civil Rights in Memphis. It was full daylight but the streets were very quiet. Too quiet. So I stopped into an architect’s office to make sure that I was in a safe area and on the right route to the museum. I was. All was ok. But my fear was healthy. There were real factors to make me question the safety of the area – the absence of people being the main one.

It’s wise to be fearful of traffic in India as well – but there’s no getting away from it. The only option is to be cautious. Such is the way with some travels.

Anger is useful when traveling solo.

Now anger is a tougher one for me. I don’t do anger really well and when I do get angry I typically forget it fairly quickly. But here’s an example. In India, men were constantly coming up to me to be my tour guide or carry my bag. No amount of “No’s” would get them to leave. I actually got pretty fed up with it until I learned to deal with it quickly and effectively. I simply averted my eyes while saying that my brother didn’t allow me to talk to strange men. Worked like a charm. So much so that I never got angry about it again.

Good fear and anger can be hidden.

These useful, protective emotions can sometimes hide from us. Fear and anger can be lodged in your gut, in intuition or in a question mark in your brain. Pay heed to these.

  • Trust your instincts about people and places.
  • Do your own research so that you travel with knowledge.
  • Ask people you trust for advice.

Choose safety first.

Of course, there’s way more to traveling solo safely. I have written many posts on the topic. Please check out the Solo Travel Safety category.

 

 

 

  • Lucy

    I had a scary situation many years ago in Berlin when i was walking with my friend back to our hostel after going out to a club. We were the only two people on the streets and we had to walk underneath a train bridge to get back to the hostel. As I later learned its best not to stay near train stations, but was swayed at the time by the cheap prices. We were in our 20s so money was tight.

    As we walked along we were first passed on the side walk by one man, then another and I told my friend I thought something was up. We moved out into the middle of the street. Then a third man passed us, and now all three were behind us. I had this horrid feeling they were going to attack from the rear as we neared the train bridge. I told my friend and she wasn’t worried. I said that I planned to run and she should too. We both ran all the way to the street corner where there was traffic with the men running after us.

    I had my passport and money in my underwear in a money belt. After that, we started leaving it in our room. Most of the time when i travel now though I keep the passport with me.

  • Lucy

    Kind of a rude comment.

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  • Paul

    You were scared walking to a museum in America….. Don’t even both trying to solo travel the rest of the world then. When you’re being stoned or shot at in a bus from Pakistan to India like I was then you have every reason to be scared. Honestly I don’t know why you would bother. I don’t mean to be rude but it must be really unhealthy for you all that stress which must be pretty high if you get scared walking to a museum in day time in AMERICA.