Are you the type of person who can easily doze off while on a ride? Can you fall in deep sleep the moment the Uber driver drives smoothly? I could do exactly that, but I usually choose not to. Let’s be real: times have changed and the people out there may not be the same as we’ve known them before. Danger is everywhere and the only way to be safe is to be aware of your surroundings.
Hello and welcome to the Traveling Introvert. Today, I would love to talk about sleep. I love sleep. I'm a huge fan of napping. I am lucky enough at this moment in time that if I put my mind to it, I can sleep pretty much anywhere, any time, any place. Unless I'm cold. It's not good if I'm cold. I don't like being cold.
But what I really want to talk about is sleeping on public transport as a lone, solo female traveler. I take a lot of Ubers, and I take a lot of public transport, and when I'm in a foreign country, and actually to be honest with you, even when I'm not in a foreign country, I find it impossible to sleep. I don't care how tired I am, how jet lagged I am, I will not sleep if I am in a taxi, an Uber, a Lyft, or whatever transport, train, bus. Like small commuter buses, I will not sleep, because in the back of my mind, I'm always scared that they drive somewhere that I don't know where I am, they stop the car, they drive me to some place that I don't know and something happens.
The other thing I do like to do is, when I'm on my way to my new location, I like to see where the nearest supermarket is, or restaurants that are around where we are. I'm always got my GPS, sort of Google offline maps tracking me to make sure I'm not going the wrong way, or the scenic route. That happens. I thought this was fairly normal behavior, to be honest with you. I've always sort of traveled this way. Being hyper-aware of my surroundings has always been something that I just did.
Recently, I'm traveling with my partner, and my partner sleeps in Ubers and sleeps on public transport. It boggles my mind, because I can never be that relaxed to sleep. Bear in mind, I just said I can sleep any time, any place, anywhere. I refuse to do it, because anything could happen, and I'm asleep, basically incapacitated until you get woken up by a knife at your throat, or you're in the wrong place, and it's too late, because they've charged you a bunch of money, or whatever it might be.
Apparently, my partner says he doesn't do this. My traveling partner says they don't do this when they're alone, but it just boggles my mind that therefore the assumption is that I will stay awake anyway. Or if we're both together, everything will be fine. I would love to know what other things solo female travelers do to keep themselves safe.
I know that I've been told when getting an Uber to ask the driver what their name is, so they have to say their name and my name before I get in. One thing that I got told was to make sure I touch somewhere on the back, the front, the handles, very sort of blatantly on an Uber, so if they ever had to look for fingerprints, that they'll be able to find it. Obviously, always share your location on your Uber. Know in advance which way you're supposed to be going and the route you're supposed to be taking. That's always good.
One thing that I generally do is, if I'm entering a new country late at night ... I try not to put my flights that way, but if I am late at night, I'll make sure that I get a hotel pick up, so that it's prepaid for by my hotel. They know where the hotel is, and they know to pick me up. Because there's nothing worse than arriving jet lagged, groggy, tired, late, in a darkness in a country that you don't know and then trying to have to find a hotel, which may or may not be as visible as you would like to be, especially if you don't speak the language. So that's one thing that I do. Even though there tends to be a higher than average cost involved, it gives me better peace of mind.
Another thing as traveling solo, I try not to get dropped off at my door. Maybe there's a block of flats that's close by, so I could be like in any one of those flats. But if there's like a single house, I'll try not to get dropped off there. I'll get dropped off at the corner store or the nearest supermarket or somewhere that's really not my place, but my Uber driver can't come back and find me.
I'm sure there's other little things that we do subconsciously as solo female travelers. You know, having your keys in your hand for attack purposes, or just being very aware of who might be following you or sounds, and that sort of a thing.
But I'd love to know what you do, public that listens, to make yourself safe, or at least feel safe when you're traveling solo as a female traveler. I'm going to say female specifically, because men have it differently, and I can't empathize with that. I don't know. So please send me answers at Janice@thecareerintrovert.com. I look forward to hearing from you.