Travelling is one of the best ways to learn, mainly because it forces us to head out into the real world.
However, after my misfortunate situation in Morocco, I’ve learnt that not all lessons will be taught painlessly. More often than not, we go travelling with the expectation of nothing but great memories and positive experiences, but it’s not always the case.
Even though I am very careful and level headed, I still walked straight into the danger zone while travelling solo. Reflecting on my experience, I now feel so much more aware of the dangers easily met abroad and I want to share with you some of the ways in which they can be avoided!
Avoid asking strangers for directions
In Marrakech, the apparently innocent and genuine-looking man who gave us directions was the same man who sexually assaulted us. I don’t want to scare you, but we walked straight into a trap, and without the right preparation, it could happen to anyone. Instead, look on Google Maps, or if it gets to the point where you have to ask for directions, make sure you only let the person point you the right way, rather than let them lead you anywhere. After all, you don’t know the country, so a total stranger could be planning on taking you anywhere. Be careful in who you place your trust in; those who seem OK might not be.
Listen to your gut!
This could range from not accepting a drink to not going down a dark alley. According to Geil Browning, intuition is often the best decision-making strategy, which is mostly due to the fact that logical reasoning does not exist. In a world full of uncertainty, we don’t always have enough information to guide us through, and it is in those situations where our gut gives us a 50 percent chance of ‘doing the right thing.’
Be careful with how much alcohol you drink
As we all know, alcohol almost always takes your guard down, which in a strange, new place, isn’t ideal. With hundreds and sometimes thousands of people around, you need to stay alert. As soon as someone dodgy sets their sights on you and realises that you are vulnerable, the chances of meeting with danger increases. We never think it will happen to us, but I’ve seen that it can, and I would hate for another person to experience what I did.
Part of what got me in this hot mess was by being too polite. I know what happened was not in any way my fault, but part of me only went along with the situation out of politeness. Sadly, some people will take advantage of that, so just keep it in mind. Remember if you don’t want to go to dinner with a local or walk somewhere with them, it is ok to say no; you don’t owe anyone anything.
Get Travel Insurance
It might feel like a waste of money at the time, but it will save you later on if you are to find yourself in an unfortunate situation. Please don’t think “nothing will happen to me,” because it could, and if it does, insurance will have your back!
Although this post gives you a bad picture of the world, it is important to know that 9/10 a situation will be completely innocent. The world is full of lots of great people and I could see how many Moroccan people were so disheartened by my situation. It is, however, so important that you aware of the 1/10 times when a situation is potentially dangerous.