Women safety overseas I said earlier I woke up today and I like the past thirty three years I'm still the guy so there's, we have seven females in the audience. This is something I can't really speak to because your experience overseas going leave drastically different than my experience overseas, of course is going to be some overlap with scans, but how people look at you, how people you're treated in many countries is vastly different than how they look at me. So because I can't speak to this, I got somebody you can, my friend can this rose reardon is going to come on and talk to us about female safety tips. She runs a web site called the great affair. She has traveled around the world extensively. Um and she she's been so she's a soul child has been to india. She'd been through asia. Uh she'll tell us all about it when she gets on here. So big run replies have candidates in studio thanks canister being here, it's awesome to be here. Thank you. Yeah, you looked at you were the one th...
at got in the studio. Anything? All right. So, um, I think sure you live it, but tell us a little bit about your story. Absolutely. I'm my restore. Italy started at the end of college I was an english major which was incredibly impractical. So trying to figure out what to do with my life and two friends of mine kind of a month for graduation for, like kind of london with us said that sounds perfect on if I went there for six months and lived and worked, and then after that I went to new zealand for a year and did a working holiday, and it just sort of trying to follow my wonder list and figure out life at the same time. And after that, it went back to london and got my masters and travel writing that's kind of become my path of her senses. Yeah, writing about the world and I also do water color sketches that kind of tell story at the same time I should we should have put aside for that day. Can. This is these great wire culo sketches of these species around the world. So definitely check out her web site a great affair for that because they're really well done. Uh, so what are you sorry? Wrong question left. Here we go. Um, start traveling alone. Obviously. You know, your parents are probably like, who you're going to be by yourself, your friends, uh, people try to talk you out of it. What were some of the concerns they have and how did you say like it's going to be fine not given to those fears and did you have your many of your own fears? Absolutely yeah, I mean it would be easier to list the fears I didn't have for sure I think the biggest year for me was just the fear of the unknown and what was gonna happen I think the difficult part about travel is that it's just so out of your control it's out of your comfort zone and you know these things are going to happen to you and you're not quite sure how you're going to react you know, my parents and friends and family were not so concerned the first time because I was going with two friends to london so there was kind of safety in numbers and it was a little bit more acceptable on but I think as soon as I started traveling alone when I went to new zealand and then two years after that I went to india alone and that just sort of really spurred on the concerns and people saying, you know, they have all sorts of words of caution advice that just seems to come out of nowhere soon as you say you're going somewhere alone they send you like news clippings of like, horror stories all the time yeah, yeah anyone else get that when they were like, hey, we're going alone parents were like hey, wait a couple of yes is inside and it's like suddenly everything in the news is about bad things happening to women in india or wherever you're going that's the main thing the media is talking about then yeah, I'm going to thailand and everything is all about the thai political problems exactly like a good time yet so how did you not like given to that like, how do you address those fears and concerns from your family and friends other than saying, well, I'm going to ignore you and go anyway, but yeah, you know, a lot of people were going to do with this a little later about on support of friends and family, but I mean, you respect your friends and paying and care about what they saying, how did you kind of like, do not let that get you down? Well, it was definitely concerns from friends and family, but then there was austin my own fear is well, and I think for me I just sort of felt I had the sense that it was going to be worth it that and I know what the caution was, no matter, you know how dangerous the's places really aren't dangerous, but there are these stories I just sort of felt that I needed to push past these fears and that the risks would have their own reward on dh you know, even though they were going to chant, you know, times when things would be a little bit scary and I just sort of had this feeling that you know what? This is going to be worth it, especially because it was going you know, it's now tied in with what I love to do and so there's sort of travel, but also the writing that just sort of makes it worth it I think that it was a lot of what dave and donna alison and lawrence said earlier that they had all these massive fears, but and they knew the tradeoff like getting robbed or, you know, whatever it wass was not worth giving up this dream they had totally I mean, it's funny when you mentioned a little slip of paper with the numbers I've totally done that had mcgill pin numbers had my bank account's empty thanks that we can't get it back to you. You're your fault so that you can't let this thing's hold you back you really just have to kind of keep it's sort of a scale you have to keep weighing the risks with the benefits and saying that's always going toe in my opinion that always weighs out in terms of go oh yeah, I mean, here we are safe cisco, we get robbed, I get by a bus, you know I was like a plane crash. I fly a lot because I travel, you fly a lot. A plane crashed today. Well, you know, you drive to work, and there were, you know, how many car accident today? So I think perspective is also really important when it comes to the women's safety. Like, is it state let's? Ask straight up isn't safe for women to travel on. I don't know the answer to this, but let's let's address it. Yeah, I mean, there's, obvious concerns. You know, I think as a woman, we have sort of this extra layer of worry on sexually, of threats that we're going to face better. They don't really ever go away. You have been traveling for about five and a half years now, and I'm still just his nervous at night walking by myself because I was five years ago, but for me, ultimately, I found it to be an incredibly rewarding, positive experience. I think it is safe, I think people, you know, you were talking about in the last session, that people are generally good and kind, and I've totally found that to be the case for me is that, you know, when people see a woman alone, it's, sort of, they want to help you, they want to make sure that you're ok, you know where you're going, if you know, I travel a lot in india and whenever I'm on a train, I immediately get adopted by a family there. You just make sure that I know what stop. I need to get off that I know where my birth is. I've really found that the world looks out for you. So you said, you know, you have these sort of extra general concerns that men don't like. So what are some things you have to look out for if you're a woman traveling by yourself? There's some things you like feel like we'll have to watch out for? Yeah, I mean, some of the big things that you generally have to look out for, especially, you know, I found this latin asia on, you know, it could be very innocent, but men stare sometimes, and, you know, you got a lot of eyes on you, and you're trying to kind of mitigate the tension between that, you know, that could be hitting or little sounds, you know, that people are trying to get your attention could be kind of a little step beyond that where I might start following you, where he might try to befriend you and you know, when. When I'm traveling I wanted me people I actually want to do that I want to make this local connections but then sometimes it goes a little bit too far and you start to feel uncomfortable I've ever had like really scary experiences one I'm thinking of those when I was in vienna last october and I was staying at a hostel sort of outside city center that was pretty quiet residential area and I was walking back to my hostel at night and the guy started following me on by turn directions and he just kept following and it was almost the first time I really felt like something could happen that this is the thing you want to look out for whether it was mugging or much worse, you know somewhere you really always just avoided going because you've just heard it's just too difficult you just really don't deal with it or experience that's a great question honestly, I haven't you know, I kind of find that it's just so important to get on the ground in those places and get the story for yourself because, you know, my heart always goes back to india and I think that there are some tragic stories that come out of it which are absolutely happened there and especially local women face every day when you're there and you're experiencing really positive kind things from people, it really starts to change your perception you know, let's talk about india number case is a bad place or anything, but I think india and sole female travel and many people's mind crystallizes and he represents all the bad the fears like anything bad that could happen it gets lumped in with india like especially in the news without the rapes and the beatings and I think you have talks on like being all gold and followed and another though on the normal everyday petty crime women tend to be like, yeah, I know so many women like yourself your age younger older who travel by themselves they're so what would you say that people were like? Oh, well, the india so I'd say if I were in the news where's that where some of your tips and for people yeah, india's and it could be an incredibly intimidating place to travel for the first time. I know, I know the reason I went there was I want a contest and I was like, ok, I guess I'm going to india on dh baghdad contest it was pretty awesome, I was terrified beforehand I really felt like I was almost going to mars or something, you know? You say going to india and suddenly everyone has all these lists of things that are going to happen to you they're going to get sick, you're going stand during that malaria one of the really common tip that people give is to wear a fake wedding ring or to say that you're married, and for me personally, the fact that I'm twenty seven, I'm a female and one married, and I'm traveling alone in india is just mind boggling to people there, and so you're on a train, and they're going to break your husband. Where is your mom and dad? Where's, your family? We have some really fascinating conversations about families, about expectations those conversations would have happened if I had come on, they're saying that my husband's in delhi, you know, we're just I'm I'm traveling now, but like you say, there are going to be times when that's in your best interest to tell a white lie, and you have to say, oh, yeah, here's a picture of my son and he's just down to the hotel, taking a nap, and you have to kind of protect yourself. So it's, really, that balance is a perfect way to describe it. And so what are some safety tips that you would have her women that don't wall them off, like my husband's coming? And that is a conversation you go back to reading a book, but also protect yourself, but keeps the open toe meeting people, yeah, exactly, I definitely just repeat that I you know the point of don't be afraid to tell a white lie also for me and in india and a lot of lot of places around asia is to learn what normal looks like and it's hard to do when you're only going to be in a place where a couple of days or a week but if you have a chance to spend more time in a country you're going to start to learn you know what normal looks like you're gonna learn that in india transportation is chaotic and crowded and buses are very full on dh so if you get to you know this bus pulls up but there's only three people in it and it's unmarked don't get on it or if you get on a train and there's an empty carriage don't get in that carriage go try to find people could really is safety in numbers and so you kind of start to notice these patterns this is the way that life operates here and whenever it deviates from that kind of pick up on that and stay away I mean this is my opinion but um you know what normal looks like try to blend in right I mean of course you know you were going to stick out and you know certain countries they are on the world but you don't be flashy right? But if you're in a country and everyone's really just conservatively don't draw attention to yourself by like walk around and tank tops or shorts or flip flops or no wherever that makes you seem like an outsider he's a guy or a girl like you know in southeast asia you have let's guys like flubs and short like a single it it says like I went to being in a gang the end exactly where they're like tourists but you and ben cooper I used to live in bangkok in you can sort of tell like the locals because they serve the ones that are making an effort really mean dresses we could talk about that for another fifteen minutes for females, you know, especially for a couple of yes exactly, but I mean just conservatively, you know, so that you understand that they are conservative culture and that you're making those steps whether it's, you know, you don't have to go and buy a whole new wardrobe but cover your shoulders don't wear something that's going to show your legs because those are things to them it's insensitive and I think that you really you're kind of ensuring these steps that people are going to respond really well to you when they see that whether it's addressed the weather year, you know, adopting little little parts of their culture and eating with your hands if that's what they do just anything that shows that look I wanted there is this going to be a gap and do everything you can to kind of close that gap and connect with people people will go the extra mile and you make an effort to learn a couple of words in their language that most enjoyed when I see travelers like southeast asia I like they walk around barefoot or without shirts on or girls were like walking between these um justcause it's culturally insensitive right and or like the backpackers like high don't need to shower I'm traveling but locals in southeast asia like take multiple showers a day because hot is help and that's how they grow up so but if you're like smelly and you have like bare feet and that's really like a no no in a lot of cultures to show like you're barefoot um you stick out and then people like why should they be nicely if you're not going to like respect their local culture exactly yeah I mean it's unavoidable toe not stick out when you're traveling in asia but I find that just adopting a few little practices whether it's the clothing or whether it's just you know in india the head wobble people you know that's a way that's how they smile there and so that was your head well hello, how are you it's just it means yes no maybe hello I'm listening to the conversation and that's it we're not on my second or third day there I was doing this adventure called the rickshaw run where you drive it took took two thousand miles across india and I kept waiting for the back of the picture filed all the villagers that were standing on the side of the road and none of them way back like, come on what's going on here and then I really has all the men would kind of just tilt their head and do the little head wobble and so I started doing that and instantly was like flipping a switch they just break out on the street smile so you just kind of find those little cultural you know things that you can start implementing in your own behavior yeah, I mean, like I said, people will go the extra mile when they feel like you're making the effort exactly. So where some things you wish you knew now that where things you know now that you wishing your back bad? Yeah kind of what we've been talking about I wish that I knew how kind people would be and how welcoming they were going to be. I think as female travelers we often sort of prep ourselves for the worst case scenarios we kind of what continue country a little bit guarded, you know? We want to make sure we're going to be safe and sometimes we miss out on opportunities like you were talking about in the previous session, you know, because we think everybody's out to get us but really what I found is that there are so many people in the world that want to connect with you that they're kind hearted, especially in places like india I was just in turkey and japan where hospitality is a huge part of their culture I really that's something I believe in so strongly now is just sort of connecting with people other any like specific things you do I mean, you talk about, uh you know, don't go alone at night we were talking earlier about you maybe where to pick the hostile in the end that was a little bit more center safety in numbers rather anyway tips like like five or six tips you could give to people I do this don't do that, yeah it's, it's tricky because it's really easy in this sort of situation to give the hard and fast rules that don't go out alone at night don't hitchhike don't accept food drinks from strangers, but I've broken all these rules at some point, so I think they mean the mean type is really to use your intuition and listen to your gut and kind of sense situation and see if that person like you said if you can trust that person, another ship like he brought up is I didn't really do this before vienna, but now I've sort of look at where I booked you know the combination and see what sort of you know what part of the city? It's and if it's going to shut down tonight and not be anyone else around or seems like there's a few cafes and restaurants, it'll still be going, so you're not kind of alone as you're walking back for sure, it's great for ramp up. Do you have any questions for attention? This'll tomorrow s asking candace, how do you find out ahead of time? What may be the proper dress code is so you can fit into another country? Well, blocks are a good place to start absolutely on, but what I think I was going to mention was wiki travel is a really good resource. They always have a section on staying safe with great tips on you know what to look out for, and they also have in places like india, they'll talk about dress code, so yeah, I would start with looking guidebooks usually have a really great section for females on wardrobe, for sure, and we talked about with travel earlier previous first section about how it's good, you know, for the basic kind information about that, you know, yet how do trains ron and staying safe into customs I want to use it for like things to do a play speed but those little tiny things are really good for travel. I know we're talking about fifty, but we're getting some comments about how great your hair looks how do women keep their hair looking great while they travel? I love this question really excited talk about bangkok amazing salons get highlights when I'm there for like thirty dollars I'm sorry it's just confessed to that asia is a fantastic place to just go it kind of even, you know, roughing it in backpacking and then it's. So great to know that I like a little patty and get your hair done and it costs, you know more than forty bucks where is here? It would cost at least two hundred so that money saving stress saving tips for women they definitely had a hard day. Just go get a plastic five dollars gullible in the chat room had a much better solution on this is winning is good grief. This is the winning of comment of the day he says what candace does. She buys a companion to get her stylist. Wait, you got me? Exactly is not ideo yeah, on and on a serious note, though what can a woman do ahead of time? Time to prepare herself should she take a defense class or because that's really awesome point and I've actually been connecting with a guy who is in charge he runs it ngo on self defense and we're talking about putting together a pamphlet of four basic moves that female travelers can learn so I think it's an absolutely perfect thing to d'oh it's just you don't have to go and take a three month course, but just enough so that you feel it's really just about confidence and going into a new country dealing like here you have some sense you're going to be okay with balls another thing that that is no recommended carrying pepper spray at one point but I know that's not always legal and some countries so get like a can of deep in sex spray or aerosol hairspray anything that just can kind of create that temporary deterrents and give you space to get out of the bat that's it now actually the majority of our audience today is actually lady so maybe they got some questions directly for candace that they might have but I should just share one mother I think we got snoopy in the chat room here now that we're saying that lost their pretty on its nuclear lost their question I'm sorry oh yes sorry meghan was asking if you have to give one piece of advice just sing to a female solo traveler what would that be like I said, intuition if they're going to be a risky, scary moments, but it's worth it, I promise you, so just take all the caution, take all the advice, thank everyone for their input, but got a book the ticket, and don't look back anything from our from our lady travelers who any experiences that they've had, where, you know, the stories they want to share about overcoming it. Yeah, I just want to share that for me, you know, I found that I'm I've been my most unsafe, actually here in america, yes, so I think that I mean, I think that map that you showed earlier, like, makes a good point that in terms of, like, women being vulnerable out in public environment, that's absolutely the case here and when I've traveled, like, through europe in particular, I I was astounded by how safe I felt and how respectfully I was treated, and, um, just I could feel like confident on a train that no one we're going to approach me or, you know, I feel safer overseas, sometimes with involving small, petty crime, like, I would think nothing of being a a coffee shop in bangkok or hong kong or sweden, um, leaving my laptop open while I went to the bathroom, but you know, from the starbucks here, like that's coming with me, totaling yeah, I would not leave it out, you know, when I'm on trains, I think especially was small crime, like there are many parts of worlds were just, like, much safer because they're not going to touch your stuff because it's not theirs. Exactly that's a great point, I was really curious about your experience in turkey and where you went in turkey and then what that was like, yeah, I know I did a track there called the elliot to levy way that's it's, a pilgrimage based on the travels of a seventeenth century turkish travel writer, and it departs just across the bay from istanbul, and it goes through northwest anatolia, and I'm glad I can kind of really talk about this because I brought a tent was prepared to camp, but then thirteen out of the twenty two nights that I had on this trail, I was invited to stay with families, I'd get to village and they would say, I tell them I had a ten and they would just laugh and say, no, no, you come to stay with us, you're our guest and they make a bed for me share their dinner, and I have never felt more welcomed into a country than in turkey, absolutely yeah uh just recently in bangkok, my friend night were, you know, touring around we've seen a few temples and ended up in a more industrial area and a guy came up and said, um, range from where you're trying to get to where you're going and you know, he wasn't trying to scam us or tell us anything at the time he's just it was as if I was at home and I saw tourist wandering into an area that maybe there's nothing for them to see or maybe it's just not you know, this industrial area because he got us a tack tack and said here this is a really great place, you know, try and see this and he was really friendly and not trying to take advantage in any way, and I think I would do the same sort of thing if somebody was my town and I said, you know what? This is maybe not the best area, but here, let me help you find something that's really and we find for you to go to yeah, that happens to me like like, you look a little lost here help you when they see like you've wandered into like maybe the wrong part of town like you should probably want to turn around chuck thompson he's a travel writer for cnn travel I'm talking about this time mexico city, where he was like, I'm going to go explore everywhere, and he walked into this really dodgy area with a lot of like drug gangs everyone's like you as a gringo this's not a safe place, you can he was like, oh, ok, thanks. So thank you. Thanks for coming. Thank you for having me do so once again the great affair dot com please say hi around lots of people her way because she has lots of great information. Yes, I'm not going anywhere at the moment. Yeah, and kind of on the move, I'll be in the pacific northwest for a few months, but then I'd open that's a crazy comment you want to make some doing if you'd ever had an experience where you aren't given the same rights or somebody wouldn't listen to you or your disrespected beyond, I guess, like cat calling or something because your own it's a really interesting question and just trying to think how tough my head I really haven't done that on generally in india, at least I found people I wanted to make sure I was ok, so nothing would happen so I wouldn't have to go to the police or take it a step further, so yeah, I found there at least people generally wanted tio make sure I was ok and that you know, there were a few moments where guys did touch me and I kind of just give them a dirty look and the people around them would notice what had happened and there was kind of this unspoken agreement that they've seen it and they were gonna make sure it and go any further so yeah I'm saying kevin's point I mean there are still some cultures thankfully very few left in what were women really are regarded a second class absolutely and you know I think you know if you are in an issue they may be in for you're a woman kind of thing I mean those places I really do think that's why you need to avoid yes I mean I mean you're almost asking for trouble but definitely I mean it's great to hear your experiences yeah that's the question oh, I had a question and you said about tool with oh yes ok standing out my husband is six seven he says he six eighty six seven and you get I'm five nine and going like going tio asia kind of was an intimidating thing for me because I naturally stand out he naturally stands out but what about people that stand out in other ways? What about people from other races that go teo countries that aren't that predominant it's not that height or yes I think it's a fantastic blogger to check out would be oh nika the traveler she is an african american traveler and she just went to india last year for the first time and did a whole post on what it was like to travel in india so definitely yeah finally it people in china washington how did you get rid of your v? Any stalker will happen to them and I think they won't know that you you punched him out that's what? You know yes, I just didn't let him know that I was freaking out kept walking and pretty, you know, quick pace and there was a guy up the street that I just tried toe get myself within yelling distance out that if anything did happen and thankfully managed to get back to the hostel with him kind of so yeah, happy ending thankfully, we always have happy endings and we really do appreciate you being with us today candy is one thing let's take it away yeah, you know, a couple of last points one locals are very helpful, you know? They want to put a good face forward, so if they do in many situations, if they see someone you know, doing something bad to you, they will kind of come in because, you know, they have cultural pride and they're going to, like, stop that from happening to you don't take drinks from strangers um I did once and I was definitely repeat, um, never do that again. Watch when your drinks for being made. But I mean that's, an instance of me not using common sense. But your key takeaway here is if you wouldn't do it back at home, don't do it overseas. If it seems stupid here, even more stupid overseas and the place you've never been and don't know, I wouldn't walk around many parts of new york alone drunk at night and shouldn't walk around alone, drunk and many parts of the world that I especially don't know.
Matthew Kepnes runs the award winning budget travel site, Nomadic Matt. After a trip to Thailand in 2005, Matt decided to quit his job, finish his MBA and head off into the world. His original trip was supposed to last
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