|Posted by mcmeth5 on July 30, 2012 at 10:00 PM|
Many people are concerned with personal safety when travelling around the world. Being away from the security of your home or home country it's natural to feel vulnerable at first, so to a degree it's understandable. Regardless of what country you will visit, it will soon become clear to you that people are very friendly and they are mostly willing to help in exchange for nothing. It is rare to find hostile locals. The best thing you can do is to use common sense. The thing is that common sense is not common at all!I have a nice and true tale to tell here. Back in the '90s my father was travelling in Western China with a group of friends. If you are interested to know more, check out Personal safety.They all had an argument with the Chinese van driver, who insisted in showing them what he wanted them to see, totally ignoring their wishes... typical of the Chinese regime. So one day they ventured on foot on their own in the middle of nowhere, just admiring the natural beauty of a particular corner of the desert.Suddenly at a distance and braking the surreal silence that usually surrounds deserts, my father saw a group of about 20 people on horses wearing robes and guns, manically galloping towards them. They looked as if they just came out of a "Lawrence of Arabia" movie scene. Once they reached them, they surrounded them and kept trotting around them in a circle for a few seconds until they stopped. Their personal safety was more than at risk here. They looked intimidating to say the least and they probably didn't have the best intentions. They sat on their horses staring at the group of defenceless tourists and the two groups stared at each other without saying a word and just waiting for someone in charge to make a decision on what to do.All of a sudden, before the group leader ordered to slit the tourists' throats, my father took out of his chest pocket a packet Marlboro cigarettes (the most appreciated cigarettes in any third world country) and offered them a smoke. Suddenly as for magic, the atmosphere changed dramatically and everyone turned friendly and welcoming. That was a situation that could have turned very nasty, given the battle-like attitude with which they arrived, but with a positive attitude everything ended with a nice shake of hands and personal safety was no longer an issue.Does it matter what passport you carry? Yes, unfortunately it does. As a rule of thumb, keep your documents out of sight, unless asked to produce them and always use a passport wallet; it will hide your nationality to the curious who don't necessarily need to know where you are from... even though your appearance and body language might give it away. I have been to certain places (not necessarily war zones) where local inhabitants told me - without being asked - that they wouldn't have been please if I was from a certain country. Unfortunately citizens of certain countries have a harder time around the world, due to their country's international attitude, but this should not make people stay at home. The important thing is to always show a positive attitude and a big smile; chances are you will get the same back. Positive attitude (just like negative attitude) is very contagious and mostly you will find that whatever you give you will get back. I am lucky enough to have two passports, as I have dual nationality (Italian and British). So depending on the country I am visiting, I can choose which passport to use. For instance when visiting India, because of historical reasons, I will not use my British passport, if anything not to be charged for a visa, which as an Italian I would not need. This is perfectly legal and unless asked, I will not say that I am a British citizen at all.In every country in the world, regardless how small and insignificant it is, people feel they are the most important around and that their ways are the best. For more info, visit this webpage.