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With a Little Help from My Friends.

7.14.2010 | My Blog, Uncategorized

There’s something disconcerting about the idea of walking the bright streets of Dar es Salaam on my own. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve traveled by myself a good deal, and although it affords me some freedom to do what I want and when, it’s ultimately a lonely experience. But it’s never really been scary.

I think walking around in Dar is scary.

I don’t fear getting dragged off into a dark alley or anything, but I do fear my naivety. I’m too nice sometimes, and when I’m traveling in a foreign country, that can get me into some serious trouble. I have to remember that it’s ok to be stern. Not cruel, stern. I fully believe in the ‘catch more flies with honey‘ adage, and have no desire to tell some stranger to get bent while I’m taking swings at him with a hiking pole. On the other hand, I need to remember that it’s ok to be assertive and say, “NO!”.

The problem is that I haven’t done enough traveling on my own, and so am (admittedly) fairly stupid when it comes to confrontations. My tendency is just to walk away, but my understanding is that this may not be the best way to have someone leave you alone when they’re desperately trying to sell you an excursion, show you to a hotel, take you on as a cab fare, ask for money, or trying to sell you something. My fantastic friend Michael has given me some good advice on how best to deal with these situations, and as much as I appreciate it all, I will admit that I never would have thought of doing things the way he suggests. But I know he’s right.

Hmmm, maybe that’s something I should be training for, too..

Ok, here’s an idea: from here on in, I want all my friends to try and sell me something every time they see me. That way I can practice being assertive while avoiding escalating or prolonging an uncomfortable situation. So… yah. Whenever we meet up, friends, I want you to bug the living beejubus out of me until I finally say the thing that actually makes you want to leave me alone. I am hereby giving you free reign to be a complete dickbag to me and avoid the repercussions. Deal? Deal!

This is going to be a long month.

I’ll bet someone’s going to try and sell me a shorter one…




Hmmm.. I’ve travelled fairly much “singularly” in the many years past. Granted most places I’ve been to aren’t really, whatchumightcallit, as unpredictable as Africa, but bear in mind, I am only a petite 4’9″. (Could have been smaller before!)

So yeah, I’m not sure what Michael told you,but take it from me, when you are that small, and the backpack on you makes you look like a teenage mutant ninja turtle wannabe, I’ve learnt that walking away IS probably the smartest thing to do.

My limited understanding of the general profile of uninvited attention givers are, other than being an attention seeker, they are usually pretty egoistic as well. So while walking away might not seem to be the most G I Jane behavior, but rather than giving them attention by rebutting them or worse, accidentally angering them, I’ll rather just leave it.

Seriously, when egoistic people feel humiliated, whether there is a valid reason or not, logic takes a back seat and emotions take over. And that is where it gets dangerous. So yeah, my take is, walk away. xo.


I don’t know why the fonts in my above comment turn out all funny! 🙁


I’m content to walk away, for sure! If it works for a small turtle girl like you, then I’m sure it’ll work for me, too. xo