If I Leave: Traveling and Safety

I get asked quite frequently, “Is ______ safe?” This is especially true if I have traveled alone. In July I traveled to the U.K, Denmark, and Iceland. It was only the second time that I have taken a solo trip abroad and, to be quite honest, every time that I leave to go somewhere I have a bit of anxiety about my safety. Let me state that this is more so because I am a 5’4 black woman. We can almost start and end there. I get antsy about walking alone after the sun has set. This is not to say that there are not certain places that won’t get a serious no from me to visit, however my concern over my safety has never prohibited me from traveling.

It is true that just about everywhere in the world has a set of challenges that it deals with in terms of violence and crime but, from my perspective, there are just certain things that you can do to lessen your chances of being a target when you go out of town, or out of the country. Most of this surrounds being aware of your surroundings and not looking like a straight up tourist. You have to be smart about it peeps. This is MAJOR KEY. Keep your wits about you and don’t look lost. Also make sure that someone knows where you are, even if it is someone back home.

Safety is always a concern and as Queen of Paranoia land, it does not escape me the possibility of things taking place. But you have two choices: don’t go anywhere or go anyway. Y’all already know which one I pick. EVERY. TIME. Fear of the unknown should not debilitate you from getting out and having those experiences outside of your zone of familiarity, however large or small it is. Heck, you could just as easily and more likely get mugged in a parking lot as your could getting pick pocketed in Rome. I’m just saying. It would be a pain in the butt but your would recover just like if you were back home, and you’d be in Rome. So there is that…

My major piece of advice will always be to go. Solo travel is a really big step, so start small. Go with at least one person you know because there is more safety in numbers. You could also go with a tour group or stay at a resort so that once you get to your destination you do not necessarily have to leave. Either of these options leaves you with more resources at your disposal, which can be an extreme relief and comfort to traveling, especially abroad. If you never leave, there is no guarantee that you’ll never be in any sort of danger. The only guarantee will be that you will never see much. Moral of the story: Get away. Go for it. Take the step to see another state, city, country, continent. Do it. You’ll thank yourself. Trust me.

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I'm Sharde', I'm a PhD candidate living in Houston! I'm a nerdy jetsetter, Master Packer and personal growth enthusiast. I share my tips, tricks, and soul searching adventures here and on my YouTube channel. I enjoy reading, writing short stories, hanging out at the beach, skin care, and discovering new coffee shops.You can usually find me writing, working on my dissertation, shooting with my camera, or planning my next adventure.

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