I love a good adventure, but come home with good stories, not sob stories.
This is not a paranoia post – it just never hurts to keep an eye open. Ultimately no one will take better care of you… then you. These tips are for when you’re on the go.
1. Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be so distracted or plugged into your gadget that you can’t pick up on what’s going on around you. There’s something to say about picking up a vibe and leaving before something actually happens.
2. Walk with a purpose. I don’t mossy or endlessly gape at the scenery – I walk as if someone’s waiting for me. Body language goes a long way. Of course, feel it out. This isn’t beach friendly behavior, but works well in train stations, random city streets, and the like.
3. I don’t ever pull out a map or swap out currency in public. It screams, “Hi, I’m a tourist…I’m not from around here.” I do a lot of prep beforehand, but when I’m on the go and need to access maps or currency, I tend to swap things out in a public restroom stall. Sure, I’ve used maps on the street before, but I don’t pour over a map with my head tilted to the side doing 360* turns. I like to think people are helpful to visitors, but all you need is that one iffy guy who now knows where you’re going. (another story for another time).
Same goes for currency. Usually I carry a bit of both that I’ll be needing in my wallet, but if I need to access my stash, I’ll duck into the privacy of the lady’s room. I’m not about to spread out my goods and leaf through everything so people can determine if I’m worth following or not (which has also happened). I’ll even verify the currency exchange rate on an app just so I’m not fumbling around with it. I’m not the type to hold a coin between two fingers and examine it with a discerning eye, just to figure out if it’s a £1 or not.
4. Be deliberate about what persona you project. Body language goes a long way. Be yourself, but at the same time be aware that how you carry yourself in situations will make a difference. When I’m on the go and confronted with a situation that I can take on, I tap into a very masculine energy. I’m 6 feet tall and even though it can be gazelle like, it can also be intimidating…and I know that. Use what you’ve got. I’ll stand ram-rod straight, make more eye contact than you can handle, and give you the death grip hand shake that my Marine Corps Father taught me. However, if I know I’m somehow in over my head, I go 180* – total air head. Embrace your inner ding bat because a) they don’t know that you’re acting any differently than normal and b) its defusing the situation. I giggle and throw in lots of “No way! Oh really! How funny.”
I’m a firm believer of embracing life and not being some sweaty palmed nervous ninny. Go for it! Just don’t become a statistic.
What tips can you add? Any crazy stories? It’s all about learning from experience.
Thanks for joining me for part one of my top safety tips & don’t forget to check out part two!