Tag Archives: Traveling

Cultural Differences

There are many things that affect how an individual behaves, thinks and sees the world around them. It could be how they were raised, when they were raised (time period/generation), where they were raised and who raised them.

In today’s topic, I’d like to discuss all of these but mostly the “Where” of it. The “Where” includes all the others in one way or another. The “Where” is the Culture we’re brought up in and how our culture shapes our world views and behaviors.

But how does our culture affect our behavior and mindset? Which factors are the causes of humans often being so radically different in their views and thoughts and behaviors despite there being some fundamental similarities between us? How does culture sometimes override our fundamental instincts, intuition and even our capacity for empathy and other emotions just based on our cultural/social programming?

The thing is, it isn’t just one thing that creates these differences, cultural differences are a culmination of of many things acting together in shaping our minds since birth.

 

Cultural differences are actually a product of;
⦁ Local religion.
⦁ Laws.
⦁ Beliefs.
⦁ Environment.
⦁ Resources.
⦁ Advancement (Technological and Sociological).
⦁ Types of Government.
⦁ Economy.
⦁ Mindset regarding individuality vs normality/likeness.
⦁ Education (via Schooling and Parenting).
⦁ Amount of freedom allotted to the public.
⦁ Population.
⦁ Public Health and Hygiene.
⦁ Infrastructure (for example, an area with more slums have less hygienic lifestyle than someone living in a neat and clean suburb, which relates to the above point).

 

Let’s break them all down one at a time and go into more details.

Local religion – Religion is actually one of the most heavy influencers of an individual’s behavior. It dictates a set of morals and principles that people often follow strictly. Now while many of these ‘rules’ are the same everywhere, some cultures follow them more to the letter than others. For example, religions who don’t allow certain kinds of food items like beef or pork, this rule is followed more strictly in countries like the one I live in than in western countries. Religion influences our behavior more directly than any other aspect.

 

Local Laws – This is another aspect that, just like religion, influences not only our behavior, but also our morals and principles. Local Laws aren’t always the same everywhere. Different countries have different laws and even in those countries, the laws differ from state to state and even city to city. So those states and cities will have restrictions and actions that are considered illegal which aren’t in other states or cities. Examples can be the marijuana bans or laws about marriage and divorce or child protection or laws on CC (concealed carry) or firearms. All of those will be completely different depending on which country and continent you’re on. These different laws make us alter our behaviors and our thought processes in order to be able to assimilate into that particular culture, this can even be applied domestically, not just internationally. As a result, someone from a city, state, country or continent where laws are lenient would find a place where laws are strict and bans are heavy, to be too constricting and limiting. But if someone from a country with strict laws find themselves in a location with lenient laws and merciful punishment, will feel more free and be more open to trying things they otherwise wouldn’t because they weren’t allowed to do so.

 

Beliefs – Our beliefs are not something that is separate from any other factor on this list. They are in fact shaped by the other factors like religion, laws, environment and even mindset developed during an individual’s upbringing. Since other factors differ (quite a lot) in different regions, beliefs are often the most dissimilar factor among various cultures around the world. So much so that like the different laws, beliefs are even different in a country of the same culture.

 

Environment – When I say ‘Environment’, I mean the overall state of the environment in a particular country, i.e. hostile, peaceful, criminalistic, war torn, etc. etc. We are often a product of our environments. Our environment forms our societal structure, from our laws to our governments to our economy to our education and infrastructure. A hostile environment breeds a hostile younger generation due to the need to survive in such an environment, a peaceful environment breeds more pacifists. An individual who comes from a hostile environment will always be suspicious of everyone in a friendly environment, contrasting that is someone from a totally peaceful and low crime environment, who will be too trusting even in hostile environments. Individuals who are trained or are professionals who deal with violence and come from either environments will have a sort of balance and will know when to trust and when not to, when to let their guards down and when to put them up. To put it in short, our environment has a huge impact on cultural differences.

 

Resources – Resources include money available for each family, housing quality, education quality, jobs and their quality, transportation quality, and overall standard of living in a particular city, state, country. Availability (or lack thereof) resources and their quality often determine the level of violence and crime in a certain area. Which determine how the peaceful or hostile an environment will be, which in turn will also influence and determine how the local laws will be organized. More, better resources distributed among the people fairly, will mean less crime and better environmental conditions, less resources and lack of quality, will mean greater chances of criminal activity, which will worsen the overall environmental conditions. Since different countries have different level of quality resources and environments, they often are a determining factor how varied the cultural differences might be between any two given contrasting cultures.

 

Advancement (Technology and Social) – This factor is a little trickier to explain since technology is virtually everywhere. But the keyword here is “virtually”. As in it appears to be everywhere, but it isn’t. This is more applicable to rural areas, especially here, where even a fundamental thing that we all often take for granted like electricity is not so common or frequent. Let along technology like laptops or iphones or internet. This influences the local area more than a whole country or city itself. Those with less technological advancement are often disconnected from the world outside their own areas. This creates a culture that is more introverted as a whole than mixed. Their beliefs and religion is often not diverse, their laws are mostly based on the older beliefs of their ancestors or even based in their own religious beliefs. Those with an abundance of technology are more educated, but not necessarily well-informed due to the immense mis/disinformation in the digital world. Hence the saying “don’t believe everything you read/see on the internet”. There are however good informational sources on the net that do provide legitimate information which creates more well-informed individuals in that city/state/country. The lack of exposure to that legitimate information is what keeps those without technological advancement underdeveloped and uninformed, misinformed and/or disinformed. This creates a huge gap in mindset, beliefs (that have not evolved with the social advancement or lack thereof) and as a result also the local environment.

 

Types of government (and political ideologies) – Now, I often avoid talking about politics, but this subject requires me to include this point here as politics is one of the most significant and the most huge factor in cultural differences. For example, a country with capitalist ideology will have a different mindset (a more opportunistic one) of how to do business than a communist or a socialist one. Although now, almost everywhere in the world, you do see obvious capitalism due to it’s potential to yield more profits to those who are willing to go to higher lengths and take more risks. Doesn’t mean you don’t see some hints of other types of political ideologies as well, it’s just most are mixed and not a complete form of itself. This is also true for the types of government itself. A monarchy will have a different mindset than a democracy and a dictatorship. I’d prefer not to go into much detail here so as to not offend anyone, but, to basically put it in short, a democratic country will have a much higher sense of freedom and rights than a dictatorship (which is either a strict martial law type environment where strict laws and restrictions are put in place by one individual) or even a monarchy (which is where a family of royalty rule over all and only a member of the family can take the throne), another example is a republic (which will have a much greater sense of equality among people than other types). These differences in types of governments and types of political ideologies are what shapes the economy, the technological advancement of said country, the local belief system, education system, laws, religions, as a result people’s mindset, infrastructure, level of freedom of speech and actions, population, health and hygiene,economical growth or downfall and basically the overall environment of the whole country. This makes politics one of the most influential factors of existing cultural differences in our society as a whole.

 

Economy – Economy is what drives the global markets. Without a stable economy, everything would fall apart. No more jobs (or free labor), no more schools (or poor quality schooling), no more food (or extreme scarcity due to inflation) or clothing or shelter, which are the fundamental needs of every individual. A poor economy drives individuals toward crime and the environment becomes hostile overtime and changes the mindset of the individuals in that environment. Economy is one of the main factors that causes cultural differences due to not every economy in the world being a strong economy or even a stable one. Innovation economy is relatively new theory which is actually something that might help economic growth as it emphasizes entrepreneurship and innovation and might help close the gap in cultural difference in some way. But it will require other factors to not hinder its process, which is needless to say, virtually impossible. I’m not an “expert” economist, this is just my view, but economy is nonetheless a factor in global cultural differences.

 

Mindset (Individuality/Normality/Likeness) – Mindset is a product of all the above factors. A culmination of how a child is brought up, what types of teaching has the child received, what kind of actualities have they been exposed to and what type of political ideologies and religious ideas and environments have they experienced. All those play a part in forming ones mindset. This also includes any training they receive, any conditioning they’ve gone through, including the ones from the internet, t.v. music, etc. Every one of those play a part in forming ones mindset. If brought up in a more conservative environment, an individual will be more closed off to things that have been labeled as ‘bad’ while they were growing up. If brought up in an open environment, an individual might be more open to taking risks. If brought up in a more violent environment, an individual might see violence as the best and only answer. If brought up in a loving and peaceful environment, an individual might only see the good in everyone. If someone is brought up in an extremely religious environment, an individual might see everyone who doesn’t follow what they do, as a bad person and an enemy. An individual who’s brought up in an atheist environment might see people’s actions more than who they believe in. Some are brought up in a fairly neutral environment, with religious values that practice peace and love but not extremism, might see people the same way. Some are a combination of two or more. When these individuals come across each other and cross over into foreign territory. Some of the inconsistencies in their thinking might conflict with each other. If the two or more individuals involved don’t respond with emotion, but with logic and reason, situation settles without ever escalating. This would be a product of a healthy upbringing and a peaceful environment. If it is treated aggressively, especially forcing someone to follow what they follow with violence, it would be a product of an unhealthy and violent upbringing in a hostile environment with poor quality of educational and informational value. This is not just applicable to different countries and their individual cultures internationally, but also to same countries with different sub-cultures within them. Some cultures promote individuality and creativity and some promote normality or likeness and “fitting in” or being more “traditional”, leaving an individual less creative and unimaginative.

 

Education (From schools and parents) – Education is something plays a part in developing a child’s mindset from a very early age, since the day they can talk and understand speech. There’s a difference between being educated and being informed though. Many cultures focus more on being educated than on being informed. Which shapes a mind within the confines of the dictated limits of knowledge acquisition. If children aren’t challenged intellectually and creatively, their intellectual and creative growth is stunted, as a result they’re less likely to question things or be curious about new things. Innovation is not possible without creativity. This is why we see the difference in creativity in individuals from different cultures. Those countries that do provide more freedom to be creative and explore new things have more people who create new things than people from countries that force children to be within the boundaries of the dictated educational limits. There’s a much deeper issue that above, as far as education and information provided to children today, but the above is just an example to illustrate the possible reasons for global cultural differences when it comes to education and information.

 

Amount of freedom allotted to the public – This is pretty self-explanatory and relates to the points above namely – education/information, mindset, resources, religious and economical freedom. The less restrictions are imposed on individuals the more options are available. This can also backfire in a way that certain times, people become too entitled and stop valuing the freedom and rights they’ve been afforded or get greedy and get aggressive if they don’t get more of it. Not to mention at the first sign of any restriction, social chaos might ensue. Not all countries allow total freedom, as that would be absolutely chaotic, but many countries offer more freedom of speech and actions than some others. So when individuals who go from a high freedom country to a lower one, they often feel too restrictive and constricted due the lack of freedom to do things they could in their native country. This factor is probably the most noticeable to people as it affects one on a more personal level than the others.

 

Population – Population affects different cultures in an economical sense more than others, especially because there are more people than there are resources to consume, like jobs available and wealth distributed. Logically and even statistically, crime rates also tend to be higher in highly populated areas (which is quite obvious as to why that is). Which again leads to a poor or fairly poor environmental quality. Higher birthrate also means more kids that need to be properly educated, and will need to maintain proper health and hygiene, but with poor economical conditions, that might not be always possible, which contributes to bad hygienic practices and as a result the quality of environments deteriorate even further. This factor is also something that would be noticeable for an individual, especially those who move from small towns to cities or from moderate, yet developed population countries to high yet underdeveloped population ones.

 

Public Health and Hygiene – This point ties into the above one as already mentioned. Countries with affordable medical costs or high medical development or availability of necessary resources, often are a good provider of healthcare and those who provide personal hygiene products of good quality and affordable prices have often a good hygienic environment. But here’s the thing about that, it doesn’t always come down to affordable or developed. This particular factor comes down to the individuals themselves. The better an individual has been informed on such things and brought up in an environment where having good hygiene practices and eating healthy and exercising and avoiding any harmful or unhealthy food items is promoted and praised, the individual will grow up to be someone who practices good basic hygiene with good eating and lifestyle habits. So this factor depends on information/education, environment, mindset and on a certain level, resources.

 

Infrastructure – This is basically the quality of housing, office buildings and working conditions in them, school buildings, smoother roads (that minimize traffic and less accidents along with filled up potholes), efficient transportation, proper drainage system (during heavy rains), proper sewage treatment systems (and not those that leak out with heavy rains), better quality food production factories, better phone lines (for a better network), efficient power plants. A strong economy provides all of these, while an underdeveloped one lacks them. This is also a noticeable factor for those who move from a strong economical country to an underdeveloped one and vice versa.

 

There are also other sub-effects of the main factors that cause cultural differences such as, Sexual Identities, Gender Identities, Age Identity. For example;

  • Gender Identity is developed as a part of an individual’s environment, beliefs and religion.
  • Age Identity is most likely a product of Beliefs and Mindset, which is influenced by beliefs in part, and in some cultures, even due to religion.
  • Sexual Identity can be a sub-effect of Religion, (Personal)Beliefs influenced by Religion or Environment and Freedom (of speech/actions/sexuality) Allotted in their country.

 

So those are the factors that I’ve noticed which influence overall cultural differences in our society as a whole. Some of these differences can be overcome and some of them are actually in the process of being eradicated in the coming years. Many countries are now being influenced by other cultures due to more international exposure via social media and t.v and music, which in turn, is slowly eradicating some differences like technology and mindset and even education in some parts, such as in metro cities (like Mumbai for example). It’s a slow progress, but if it continues and spreads to other parts of the country, it might have an impact on other cultural factors such as economy, freedom and information/education, etc. as well, i.e. if they aren’t hindered by some other existing factors that hold back progress. But that’s something that only time will tell I suppose.

 

I’ll add this final food for thought, even though we have some differences in how we approach certain things, how we live, how our cultures form, on a fundamental level, humans are more similar to each other than we’d like to admit sometimes.

 

We are the same species, adjusting to different environments.

 

Well, that’s it. If I missed something, feel free to comment about it below. It’d be interesting to know your perspective. But no political b.s stuff that incites flame-wars please.

 

Alright, Thanks for reading.

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Linguistic Barriers And Some Other Safety Issues While Traveling

So, in today’s post, I’d like to talk about a pretty common problem while traveling, at least for those who aren’t multi-lingual. The problem being not able to speak the native language, which sometimes leads to miscommunication, which often leads to some sort of trouble arising, from a minor one like wrong hotel booking to a major one like an escalated confrontation. I’m going to write about the latter one today, since that is much trickier to handle than a wrong booking.

Firstly, I want to address a simple fact that is true whenever we travel. You see, most of the times, when tourists visit a country, they stay in the “tourist areas” of the country, in specific areas of a popular city, for example, India has Delhi, Mumbai, etc. Thailand has Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, etc. America has Las Vegas, Beverly Hills, Chicago, etc. etc. These tourist areas are usually very low crime areas, they have all sorts of points of interest for the tourists to enjoy, great restaurants, attractive shopping locations, beautiful and/or historic landmarks, and so on. But sometimes, some tourists, due to curiosity or simply wanting to see more than what they are offered in these created paradises, often get out of the “designated tourist areas” and out of the safe zone created by the local authorities to give tourists a pleasant experience and go explore the “non-tourist” areas of the country, in “non-tourist” cities, a.k.a areas that are not as safe for people who don’t know the localities, which basically holds the reality of the country the tourist is visiting.

Now these places are usually where most tourists victimized, the side of the countries that the local governments often try to hide in order to bring more money via tourism or due to national pride or to hide the ineptitude of the governments in dealing with the crimes, poverty, education in their country.

But we’re not here to discuss politics or anything even remotely close to it. No, we’re here to discuss how you traveling to a country and going to a place where people may not speak your language (not fluently at least, I‘ll get to this point in the next paragraph), can affect your ability to keep yourself safe from not only violent threats, but also from con men.

So, let’s start with an example here. Let’s say you go to a country where your language is spoken, but not in areas outside of the tourist zones, not very well at least, now in those areas, people may lack the education necessary to even speak the basest level of the language or it might be that your language is simply not one of the native languages spoken. (I haven’t specified a specific language because I don’t want to create some needless and possibly incorrect stereotypes about some countries). But of course, since I’m typing in English, the primary language I’ll use as an example is that. Now, most people in just about any country do speak English, but there are still places in the world, where only a handful of people speak English and it’s not fluent or even close to it. Although, with the digital age growing, maybe that won’t be an issue in the future, but it is currently, so bear with me and don’t take anything I write to illustrate a point, personally.

Now that we‘ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll get back to my point, so let’s start off with a situation, let’s say a tourist wanders off into the “non-tourist” area and is exploring. Now maybe that area is not as safe as the tourist zone is, and there is a very high possibility that the tourist will stand out as an outsider, a foreigner to the locals, some tourists will appear totally clueless, in other words, obviously easy to fool. Unless you know how to be a ‘gray man‘ and know the local area very well, which is applicable to professionals traveling frequently due to work, but this does not apply for a tourist on a vacation buying all the local t-shirts and wearing them proudly, while taking pictures of everything they come across, so it’s safe to say that certain features always stand out in tourists like a sore thumb. Here’s where you are easily identified as a potential mark.

Now, let’s temporarily skip the stuff that will occur between them identifying you as a mark and making their move on you, whether it’s a full-on ambush or just luring you into a trap in the pretense of some lucrative offer, etc. Of course, you identifying the predator, will reduce your chances of becoming a victim, just keep that in mind, but let’s say you failed to do so, now the assault, or mugging, etc. begins.

Let’s just draw up a scenario here, okay?

A guy, friendly as ever, walks up to the tourist, “Hello friend! How are you? You come from out of town?”

Tourist replies, “Hello, I‘m fine, yes, I am in fact. I was wondering if you can tell me where I can find a good places to visit in this area?”

The guy replies, “Oh yes! I know place, very good food, I take you there okay? Come!”.

Tourist thinks, he’s found a friendly helpful local individual, so follows. Let’s ignore the fact of what the tourist should’ve done.

Continuing, the guy, brings the tourist to a small building. Not seeing anything special, not a landmark, not a restaurant nothing special, the tourist now begins to feel a little like things are off (intuition perhaps? Yes it is).

Now, what’s the above situation leading up to?

Well, Possibilities;

1- The guy really was friendly, and he brought him to a local place that cooks excellent food, it‘s just not an official restaurant, but a backdoor food place kind of deal?

2- The guy has brought him to something entirely different than what was asked for, maybe an adult entertainment location where they serve food, due to miscommunication, as the guy doesn’t speak the language well and didn‘t know what the tourist meant when he asked for a good place to visit?

3- The guy has brought the tourist into an ambush after identifying them as a mark and called ahead to his accomplices?
Well, if you’re lucky, it’s gonna be the fist one, if you’re not as lucky, it’ll be the second one and you’ll have a funny story to tell, but if you are hilariously jinxed, then it’s most likely gonna be the third one and here‘s how that will go.

Let’s say the tourist is wearing a nice watch, good shoes, has an iphone, some cash, maybe some jewelry.

Tourist- “What is this place?”

Assailant- “It‘s a good place! You have money? You give money, you get good price.”

Tourist- “What? What’s going on? Good price for what?”

Assailant- “You give me money, I bring you to a good place, now give me money.”

Tourist- “I’m sorry, I’m not giving you any money, you have brought me nowhere”

Assailant- “Ay! Give me money! Give me money!” and then gestures to the pockets, to the watch, etc.

(Now I‘m gonna use a different language here, since I only speak 4 languages, I‘m gonna use the one that is native to me, which is Hindi vs. English).

Assailant- “Saala ache jage peh lay aaya aur paisa bhi nahi dey raha hai! Nikal paisa! Arey paisa dey mujhe! Teri ghadi, chain, phone or jooteh bhi! Agar paisa nahi dey raha hai to yeh sab dey! Chal jaldi kar! Nikal! Dekh kya raha hai?!” his tone of voice is now aggressive and is gesturing to your watch, phone, chain, shoes, etc.

Tourist- “I don’t understand what you’re saying!”

Assailant- Takes out a razor blade or a knife, “Are pocket meh se paisa nikal or mujhe dey! Money! Money!” gesturing to and patting the pockets.

By this time, the tourist is well aware of the fact that he’s being robbed, so now in fear of his life, he will take out whatever he has and gives it to him or he might try to fight, but let‘s take the first example for now.

Tourist- Takes whatever he has and gives it to the mugger. “This is all I have”.

Assailant- “Bas itna hi? Or nikal! Are chal aur dey! Jootey or ghadi bhi! Shoe shoe!! Give me shoe! And ghadi” gesturing towards the watch. “Aur bhi nikal! More more!!”

Tourist- “I don‘t have anything else on me”.

Assailant- “Atm! Come to atm! Paisa nikal ke dey!”

Now, mostly, if the mugger thinks the loot is enough, they will run away. But in some robberies such as above described example, the muggers have often taken their victims to the atm to get the money out or they kidnap the victims, put them in a vehicle (if available), take their atm cards and drive to the atm to get the money out themselves.

Of course during the panicked state of mind, and factor in the fact that nothing that’s coming out of the mugger’s mouth makes sense to the tourist, except the gestures the mugger makes. Understanding these gestures and the tone of voice are what’s gonna help the tourist not make the situation worse and get them stabbed.

Since the initial aggressive behavior, the assailant has gone from using broken English to basically complete Hindi, which is more comfortable for him to speak due to it being his native tongue. For English readers who can’t speak Hindi, the above sentences are going be gibberish, except a few words, right?

That’s exactly what happens to most victims in an actual situation in a country where their language is not spoken widely, when they hear them talking. This is not just about one country, this can be applied to any country that doesn’t widely speak your native language. Hell an Indian who doesn’t speak English well or doesn’t speak Russian at all can be victimized in Russia or the US or UK or Australia and not understand what their assailants are saying, at least not fully, unless they follow the gestures, tone of voice, body language, etc.

It is actually a pretty common fact the assailants (and even people who are angry) often revert to their native tongue, which they’re more comfortable speaking. If you don‘t speak the same language, you’ll have to solely rely on their gestures, where they point at, their pitch and tone of voice, to know what they intend to do, etc. Which is where most people are either killed or beaten to the brink of death or even raped (but that‘s a different type of crime, as opposed to mugging, so let‘s stick to our current example for now).

So, why do they get beaten? Well, there is no one reason for it, there are many variables that determine the reasons. But miscommunication is one of the most common reasons. If the instructions in the form of gestures and tone of voice, aren’t picked up by the prey, the predator who wants control of the situation, will be frustrated. Finally, for them it will be easier and more convenient to just take you out and take whatever they want from your downed unconscious/dead body than wasting more time playing the mime version of 20 questions with you. This will not only, not waste their time, but there are also less chances of them being seen by anyone.

This is why learning to identify physical as well as verbal cues not only helps you identify threats, they also help you during an already out of control situation. If you follow the instructions and give them your watch, phone, etc. Chances are they will run away after. Of course, if they want more, I.e. you, then it’s a different situation, in which case, you also need to be able to identify their intentions from the way they behave, from their tone of voice or lack thereof as many predators will avoid conversing with their victims, if they‘re intent on harming the prey, it dehumanizes the prey further. Aggressive words are often used to intimidate the mark into giving up their valuables.

In the above example, chances are that the mugger introduces a knife early on in the mix, maybe the mugger is intent on using it or maybe not, but will, if presented with resistance or maybe is incompetent enough to not be able to if over-whelmed by the prey’s actions, there are still chances of the victim being cut, slashed or stabbed in either of those possibilities. There is an extreme amount of uncertainty of how the assailant might react. But one thing is for sure, if the tourist gets aggressive when the situation could be resolved without aggression, the chances of the tourist being stabbed or beaten by the mugger and his possible accomplices will significantly increase, even if they have to chase you down the road till they catch you. Remember, from an evolutionary psychology perspective, this is their domain, their country, their territory, you are an outsider, and they won’t tolerate being dominated by an outsider, so the locals will be extra aggressive to an individual who is from out of town, if they try to fight back with aggression. This is also true with bar fights. Locals are more likely to be extra aggressive towards rude and aggressive tourists in a bar/club confrontations, than they would be to the local individuals, especially if it involves local women as well (another topic, but still related).

Due to the linguistic barrier, the already dehumanized target becomes something even less to the predator, so the hesitation to cause bodily harm is now almost completely gone. If giving away your valuables saves your life, do it. If it’s your life they’re after and you have no escape or room for de-escalation or reasoning, then you won’t lose anything more if you do fight back, but may lose your life, if you don‘t. Prevention and Avoidance is something I always advocate, but if you fail to do so, then ‘Desperate times, call for desperate measures‘, will apply here. You need to be able to assess the situation in its entirety, and calculate the most effective solution to get through it without being harmed. That is something that I cannot write and show you, as an actual situation has too many factors and variables that just can’t be explained in writing. Focus on principles of survival instead. Focus on improvisation, focus on efficient problem solving. Focus on identifying a potential threat. Focus on finding an out.

There are various possibilities and many possible situations that can occur while you are traveling, but only if you’re not careful. Don’t let this scare you. Traveling can be extremely enjoyable and it broadens your horizons, if you’re smart enough to be safe while doing so, which is quite simple if you use basic common sense of not getting out of the safe tourist zones, especially created so the tourists can enjoy themselves.

The above example is based mostly on a mugging. Certain other types of situations require different approaches, which includes sexual assaults as well, but certain principles like identification of verbal cues, tone of voice, gestures, remain similar.

Finally, I’m gonna write down some bullet points below for you to keep in mind before and while you travel;

  • The first and best thing to do is to not get out of the tourist safe zone. It has all the local attractions, restaurants, entertainment, etc. for you to enjoy. So remain in it, but if you do want to go out and explore the country in it‘s entirety and actuality, never go alone, either go in a big enough group that is a hard target due to sheer numbers (6-10+) or ask the hotel staff to recommend you a trusted guide, but still don’t go alone with the guide, remember everyone is for sale, and you are in a foreign country, where you don‘t know anyone. This applies especially if you’re from a rich country.
  • Another thing you can do is learn the local police numbers. For example, India has 100, USA has 911, UK has 999, Thailand has 191, Singapore and Malaysia both have 999…so on and so forth. Just look it up and set them in your phone contacts before you go out.
  • Know the local crime rate before you go to a country or a city or a locality.
  • Know what crimes are prevalent in which areas.
  • Know which areas are most susceptible to what kinds of crimes; I.e. cons, assaults, muggings, sexual assaults, kidnappings, etc.
  • Know the cultural mindsets of the locals and alter your behavior accordingly while communicating with them.
  • Know which areas are guarded from the crime infested ones and stay inside them.
  • Search the local safety measures, like CCTV’s, Security, Secure Transportation, etc.
  • Search for the local police station and hospital and research how efficient they are.
  • Get a hotel that is in a very low crime (I.e. petty crimes) to virtually zero crime rate area.
  • Have at least some knowledge about the local language. Even if it is just the fundamentals, so that you’re not completely lost and oblivious to it.
  • Know which gestures and social mannerisms are considered offensive or rude or aggressive in the local culture and avoid doing them in public (some cultures forbid showing affection in public or wearing certain type of clothes in certain areas considered holy to the locals).
  • Respect the local traditions and laws or the locals will get aggressive or at the very least not be very hospitable to you. Remember, you’re a guest in someone else’s country, regardless of the local flaws, it is not your place to judge and decide what‘s right or wrong for them.
  • Be cautious of the tone of voice you use. Polite tone is universally considered positive, so stick to that.
  • Never be too obvious with anything of value, don‘t wear things that are or look expensive.
  • Never carry cash or at least not too much of it (if you absolutely do need to) and never take it out in public view. Get to a secure, out of sight place, then take the cash out.
  • Be cautious of the local cons. Always arrange your transportation, your guides, your accommodations and food arrangements, and your overall itinerary, from a trusted and positively reviewed travel agency in your own country, avoid hiring unknown local help/guide/transportation without checking the legitimacy of that individual, with the hotel that you‘re staying in and avoid going anywhere alone with them, try to gather up a group, if you do decide to do so (as stated above).

 

Remember, if you follow the local rules, if you stay away from the non-tourist based areas, if you acquire the necessary and useful details about the place you are gonna visit beforehand, if you plan your itinerary with the travel agency beforehand and arrange a legitimate and safe transport and guide (if you so wish), your travel experience will be much more pleasant, enjoyable and much more safer than it would if you are negligent about the little, but important details. A little caution goes a long way, as far as enjoyable travel is concerned, or just in general really.

 

I’d like to share a bit of my personal info when I traveled, it was for my training and research, so I regularly used to go out of the tourist zones and virtually lived in those areas and as a result often used to come across unsavory trouble, especially when I looked for it and certain kinds of individuals who did not want me there. So this article, in part, is also indirectly based off of my experience of not staying in the designated tourist zones. Anyway, just thought I’d share.

 

Oh and this article is geared towards a civilian traveling to another country, not a professional on a job. Certain things in that context will change, but as stated before, many principles will remain similar (read above for which ones).

 

Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading! And if you’re gonna travel, safe travels!