There’s really not much I haven’t seen at this point. I’ve been in riots, held up at gun point, pick-pocketed, put in handcuffs, jumped, chased by a helicopter, and escaped a potential kidnapping… in the last four years.
What can I say? I know how to have a good time.
Here are some helpful tips about how I keep myself safe as a woman traveling alone!… or at least out of jail. My record is spotless and I intend on keeping it that way.
1. Zip it before you hit it.
I’m all about zippers. Any sort of pocket or flap is a prime target for pickpockets so before you hit the town, invest in a BACKPACK (not a purse or fly-ass fanny pack) that has pockets on the inside of the bag. This way, you zip up your personal items AND run after someone if they manage to snatch something. If you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge fan of GORuck. Click on their banner to check them out!
2. Don’t bring along dead weight.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to carry a drunk girlfriend out of a club/bar because home girl can’t handle her alcohol or emotions properly. This is twice as dangerous when you’re abroad and unfamiliar with your surroundings. Bite the bullet and be like, “Look bitch. I love you. You’re my bottom bitch. BUT you’re not invited.” Make friends along the way instead because chances are they’re more interesting and more capable of taking care of their own business.
3. Stop Being “nice.”
Nice people are terrible travelers. They feel uncomfortable demanding things and are always trying to be considerate of everyone’s feelings. Stop it. If you feel like you’re in danger in anyway, you need to do something about it. Don’t try to be polite and hope that if you’re nice enough, a serial murderer won’t kill you. Because he/she will; that’s just what they do. If you’re even in this situation, you NEED to scream, run, and grab the nearest bottle. Shatter the base and threaten to end that person. Who cares what that person thinks about you after the altercation, because at the end of the day, you made it home okay and that’s what’s important.
4. Make friends with strangers.
I love strangers. They have resources, know different languages, and have experience with anything and everything that could possibly happen. They also follow the wanderers code, which states:
Our common mission makes us blood. We shall not let anyone drown if we can help it. We are strangers and family at the same time.
…Unless he/she is a douche bag. Then they can’t sit with us.
5. Figure out how to use your clothing/personal items as a weapon.
When you see me walking to the cabs with my heels in hand, it’s completely intentional. 1) I obviously was dancing like a possessed water nymph and I’m tired. 2) I can use it to stab someone in the eye. After training in Krav Maga, I don’t mess around when it comes to safety. I know how to disarm someone with a knife and a gun, how to deflect punches and kicks, and how to use nearby items to defend myself. I’m ALWAYS thinking about my next move if shit were to hit the fan; it’s just how my mind works now.
6. Don’t go home with him/her.
As everyone probably gathered from 23 Things, I don’t have any qualms with making out with strangers. But I draw a very clear line right there. When I go out, alcohol is inevitability involved and my creep radar is undeniably impacted so I have very clear and strict rules for myself as a woman. This may seem anti-feminist, but I disagree. Yadadada explore your sexuality. Yadadada equal rights. That’s all good and fun, but that’s not reality. The reality is that women are regularly assaulted and raped with few consequences for their attackers; especially in developing countries.
This is an unfortunate truth. Now respond appropriately.
Keep it public. I can deal with some teasing, embarrassing photos, and hangovers as a result of my “free spirited” attitude. I couldn’t deal with looking into my friend’s eyes the next morning as she gave me a play-by-play of how she was raped after we were separated at a bar.
7. Take a Krav Maga class.
Nothing gets me more jazzed then simulating an attack on my life. One of my trainers actually took me into the parking lot and choked me against a car to force me to “adapt.” Thanks for that. The classes really build your confidence and ass-kicking knowledge; and they really put things into perspective.
Because here’s the real deal:
If you intend on causing me harm, I intend on causing you equal or greater harm. If you attempt to take my life, I will take yours instead. There is no middle ground or room for negotiation. You made that clear when you put me in this position. But at the same time, I will not cower in fear. I will not hide in my home. I will not stop wandering the world and doing exactly what I love.
Please share this with your favorite traveling females <3
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About Vanessa Elizabeth
Vanessa Elizabeth is a cultural chameleon currently based in London. She enjoys sports (such as CrossFit and dating), cooking, and demolishing her savings account. When she's not busy blogging about her feelings, she works full-time and practices Chinese with her English/German friends.
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