Travel Solo Safely: the Gifts of fear and anger.
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.
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.