Travel Safety Tips: How to Travel Safely pt 2: Education
In ‘How to Travel Safely pt 1 : Attitude‘ I explained the importance of attitude, your own attitude, that is. Specifically, you should expect to be safe in order to be safe. That belief will lead you to decisions, actions, demeanor, body gestures, speech and interactions that will attain the desired outcome: safety.
But what if you’re actually not so confident?
What if you’re not sure whether or not you’ll be safe? It’s quite possible that you don’t know how safe a particular country or region is. Or maybe you feel confident about certain aspects of travel, but not others, such as traffic, pick-pockets, illnesses or food safety?
Perhaps the biggest concerns would-be travelers have are for their health due to illnesses or accidents, aggression by other humans, be it various forms of theft, trickery, or physical assaults, getting lost, and not being able to communicate.
What are you worried about while traveling? Get a clear realization of what you’re afraid of and then:
If you’re unsure or fear something, the first step to alleviating your fears and doubts is to get educated on that topic.
For example, if you’d like to go to Pakistan but don’t know if it’s safe, then go get educated about safety in Pakistan. Where? How?
* Read guidebooks on Pakistan.
* Read blogs of travelers who have gone to Pakistan.
* Talk to people who have gone to Pakistan.
* You can find information online, at libraries, at bookstores, at local travel clubs.
Whatever aspect of travel you’re unsure about, go get educated on it. You could have several different outcomes:
* You might learn that there is no danger. The place or topic might be completely safe. In that case, you no longer have to worry about it. Relax and go enjoy your travels.
* You might learn that your destination is safe health-wise, except for 2-3 potential illnesses. Most likely you can get immunizations or take preventative medicines and precautions. Do that. And then go enjoy your travels.
* You might find out that the place/ topic is dangerous. In that case, you can chose to still go there anyhow, now better informed, or pick a different place.
* You might find out that certain scams are common in an area. You’ll learn what they are and how to recognize them. That way, if you ever do end up in such a situation, you’ll recognize it and either avoid it or get out. You can also make plans ahead of time to avoid certain areas, people, situations or experiences.
Education is a great weapon against fear, doubts, and potential problems. Once you’ve learned the truth about an area or a topic, the dangers and non-dangers, you can then develop that all important attitude of ‘expecting to be safe’.
The results of your education may lead you to different choices or actions than originally planned: choosing a different destination or a different way to travel. Developing awareness you wouldn’t have had before, or the comfort of knowing, for sure, that a place is safe.
To get you started on your travel safety education right now, here are two very important facts to know about the world in general, especially if you’re American:
IMPORTANT KNOWLEDGE #1: U.S. and European cities more dangerous than rest of world! Not other way around.
As a travel friend of mine so aptly calls our country: U.S.S.A. = United Security States of Anxiety
Important education for Americans who’ve always lived Stateside: Ready? Sit down and wrap your head around this: The USA is a lot MORE dangerous than most other countries in the world! Not the other way around. Most Americans see/feel/experience how dangerous the US is, and they think/conclude, “Wow, imagine how much more dangerous it is out there in the world!-in developing countries, in Latin America, in places I never even heard of.” Nice line of reasoning, folks, but it just happens to be wrong!
The truth is that America has an infinitely higher crime rate, higher murder rate, higher traffic collision rate, higher heart attack and cancer rates than almost every other country in the world. Barring countries in the midst of war, the USA is a much more dangerous place to live than just about everywhere else in the world.
I know that’s gonna be hard for many Americans to wrap their heads around. You’re conditioned to be fearful and believe in danger instead of safety. You’re conditioned by TV shows, news, newspapers, magazines, and Hollywood movies. You probably believe that IS reality, right? It might be a slice of reality, but it’s just a tiny bit of what’s happening around you, not the majority, as US media conditions you to believe.
When I moved to Japan in 1991, a phenomenal and unexpected experience unfolded. Within 2 months of arriving, I had the literal feeling of stress sweeping, rushing, off my body and vanishing! I realized that I felt safe as a single adult woman for the first time in my life. Living in US cities I’d always had a sensation/feeling / awareness in the back of my mind that I could get mugged or raped or robbed in my apartment. I always felt harassed on the streets by complete strangers, simply because I dressed differently than mainstream people. There was always aggression around. That all vanished when I moved out of the USA.
IMPORTANT KNOWLEDE #2- The majority of people everywhere in the world are good. Good-hearted, friendly, helpful, warm and welcoming. That’s true in every country I’ve ever visited. Sure, there are always a few ‘bad guys’. But they’re a distinct minority.
Once you’re armed with knowledge from getting yourself educated, check out my next installment of ‘How to Travel Safely’ when I explain how to take action and make plans to ensure your travel safety.