“What is it like to be a woman traveling alone to such distant places? After all, isn’t this idea very dangerous and even more so as a woman?”
SAFETY & SAFETY IN TRAVEL
Safety, and safety in travel, which I myself use, as a woman traveling alone anywhere in the world. This subject has become obvious and second nature to me during all of my journey’s, but the keys are the secrets I recorded for you in the podcast. I invite you to listen!
Often at meetings I get asked the following question: “What is it like to be a woman traveling alone to such distant places? After all, isn’t this is dangerous?” My answer is absolutely. Denying this fact would be foolish. You cannot do anything about being women and that traveling can always be dangerous, but the decision of such a trip is indeed risky and will never come without this aspect. All you can do is change your approach to how you perceive security and fear. You can also avoid accidents or limit their probability of occurrence.
Here are my 10 tips:
- I talk to people. I ask them about everything, like a child would. I let them redefine my world. I ask what they can be offended by, I ask how I can show respect for them, I ask how to walk in cities taken over by gangs, I ask what the rules, values, and boundaries are, which I cannot cross.
- I dress modestly. I wear long skirts, I do not wear tight pants, shorts, short dresses, and I cover my shoulders. I pay attention. Sometimes I cover my hair with a handkerchief, if often associated to their beliefs, culture, or if I feel it is necessary.
- I do not go out at night. In most villages without electricity and water, social life ends with the sunset, and in some cities the nightly escapades are very dangerous especially as a woman traveling alone. So, why unnecessarily risk it?
- I leave the tracks. My friends and relatives in the other hemisphere always know when I will disappear from the web and I will not give the signs of life. I leave the clues where I will be or bearings on the local people who will know about it. Sometimes I use geolocation device called SPOT, which is a satellite device that sends signals and messages to where I am at the push of a button. This is not always the case in cities, and going out at night in front of the building and waiting until the geolocation is sent out is sometimes riskier than not sending them at all and staying inside.
- I’m part of the community. The community usually brings me to people of good will and of good faith. I do not impose anything on the people. I do not push onto them anything. I do not enter a space unless I get the approval of the person or persons who are respected in this community, because then I am under the protection of their authority.
- I inform the people I am visiting about my goals and intentions. I’m certain that I’m doing fieldwork, writing a book, working on a photography or film project. I do not hide, because then I will not gain any confidence. I am real and authentic. Then, it’s my justification in the way I will behave – just by asking questions, interviewing someone, or I get up at sunrise and climb a mountain.
- I ask for permission. Before I enter any community I always ask for permission. The indigenous peoples view the earth differently, we never know whether we are in their holy land, where only elders can enter. If someone were to suddenly find us at night camping on their land, it may at least scare us, but even worse and worse scenarios in terms of death are relevant and very realistic outcomes. This Earth, their space, and being on their land is extremely important to the indigenous people. This is the first border we can or will not cross.
- I do not pull out the camera until I get people’s approval or I will not encourage them. I do not wear a camera around my neck, I do not show it until I feel accepted by the community. When I make a photo or movie in my world, I lose sight of what is going on around me, so, to take photographs, I have to trust that nothing will happen at this moment as I will be defenseless to anything that comes my way.
- Mindfulness. I carry a passport with me, money is hiding in a few different places in case of robbery, or loss of gear – these are things at my fingertips, but I have a small backpack with my equipment (not a specific bag for my camera – not to betray what is inside at first glance). If I am on the road, on a boat, ferry, or simply in motion and walking with tiredness, I attach myself to this small backpack with my important things and I sleep on it. I do not carry a watch on my travels, I have no smartphones, rings, bracelets, nothing that would make me economically worthy of the people around me. The exception is photographic and film equipment.
- I listen to my intuition. I trust my hunches. I do it all because I feel that I am in the right place and at the right time, I trust this and I trust that I will meet the best that can happen and never better be taken advantage of. Ultimately, life writes the most interesting and likely scenarios! 🙂
…BUT… THIS ISN’T EVERYTHING TO KEEP IN MIND, MORE IS ABOUT SAFETY ON THE ROAD BELOW (IN POLISH)!
Recording & Soundmix by Taylor Beales