Or better, how people and their stories scare me. I am not easily scared, not even as a woman alone. I have seen my fair share of intimidating situations. Strangely enough, I’ve been in more intimidating situations in my own country than elsewhere. Here’s how I handle travelling solo:
Don’t Be Stupid
I am not the first one to say, don’t be stupid and try not to get yourself in dangerous situations. Be careful after dark, don’t wander around alone, don’t walk into a dark alley. Speaks for itself right? I think it’s all about good judgment and above all common sense.
Besides my own country, I have never been in a risky situation. Although I sometimes made naive decisions, which could turn into a risky situation. I was lucky to say, I was always surrounded by good-hearted people. Or maybe it wasn’t luck, but a good judgment of character. Could be both.
Who’s Point of View?
However, what does freak me out is other people’s point of view. Or stories. Or assumptions. Like when I went to Zimbabwe and South Africa alone. Especially the people from South Africa were warning me that I had to watch out and be careful and whatever. I first told them, that in my country terrible things happen too. People get shot, raped, kidnapped, robbed everywhere. Did I mention all the worst case scenarios? After a week of warnings and be careful, it was in my head. What was I thinking going to Africa alone?
By the time I arrived at the airport of Harare, I was shitting myself. Waiting outside for the guys from the lodge to pick me up, I smoked an entire pack of cigarettes, due to the stress. Back then I was still smoking. Normally I would be perfectly fine, but the warnings made me paranoid. When one of the taxi drivers asked me if I needed a ride, ’cause I was standing there for a long time already, my anxiety was complete.
You Know Best
After spending a few days in this country, I turned back to my normal self. I figured out the locals were nice and helpful. Of course, not everything is sunshine and rainbows there. Then again, nowhere is. One of the girls who was staying at the same lodge couldn’t get rid of a drunk guy who was following her on the street and claimed to love her. With a little help from me and my new found friend (also a local), the situation was easily solved. Something like that is never pleasant, but it happens. Like everywhere else in the world.
What I am trying to say here, is use your head. Be confident, be smart and use your common sense. Let everybody talk their talk, but let your own experience guide you. And please guys, don’t give me any of these pieces of advice. I know, the world is dark and scary for a girl alone.