One thing I learned the last few years is trusting my gut feelings. Not only in travel, but also in running a business. As a digital nomad I sometimes feel like making the wrong choices. I’m fully aware of it, but it seems necessary.
And right after, I always feel really, really stupid. It always makes me very sad, brings me troubles or cost me a lot of money. A few of my fails?
When I ignored my gut feeling (#fails)
- Recognizing a bad client before I accepted the inquiry, but needing the money so just accepting it.
- Booking a hotel room that looked super shabby, had bad reviews but was the cheapest option so I booked it (on my solo trip). When I arrived the reception guy was drunk, the lock on the door was broken and everything was really dirty. Fortunately, I felt immediately that I did not want to stay there so I made an excuse (which was actually true) that something wasn’t included in the room but was mentioned in the Booking.com app, asked for my money back and then searched for a new place. The guy was pissed but gave me my money back in a scary way. I literally ran away to the main street and felt safe again. Fiew!
- In despair hiring an overpriced room with roommates that you don’t really like, in a neighborhood that’s not you and not enough place for all your stuff. Never felt worse, remember that living in a bad environment can literally make you sick! So now I’d never want to accept anything other than doable ever again and I’d rather live at my friend’s or parent’s than rent an overpriced, nasty apartment. (Secret key: traveling!)
- In Bali we were in need for a taxi driver, and especially taxi drivers often feel ‘wrong’ or ‘safe’ in my experience. So this time. But we were in a hurry to arrive at the new hotel before noon (too warm!!) and just went with one. The one we went for was annoying from the start, and it ended up in a sort of mini fight over the payment, he drove over our backpacks and he stole my iPhone. Lesson learned, trust you gut feelings.
- You get an inquiry from a client in another country. You’re not sure if they really exist, but have a good offer and you’re short on money. It all sounds a bit weird, but you just accept the job, finish the job, can never see your money. I think most of us all went there some way or another, same goes for buying something online.
- Eating that dish when you know it’s prepared in a filthy Asian kitchen but it’s your only option. Hello belly cramps!
4x gut instincts you don’t want to ignore
- Number 1 is: when you’re in danger. I bet you sometimes feel unsafe, and I bet most of the times you’re right. If you feel it, listen to it and do anything to feel safe again. Yep, also if it’s suddenly stopping the taxi driver and telling him you want to get out. NOW.
- If you feel that what you’re about to do, you’ll regret later on. This can be doing something really stupid with a high chance of getting the police involved (I mean, doing drugs in Thailand, apparently everybody does it but that doesn’t mean you should do it – just don’t!) to carrying a bag to the plane for a traveler you just met… don’t. do. it. You know it’s gonna end bad.Even if they look really kind and handsome.
- Have you ever seen Thelma & Louise? Brad Pitt looks delicious, and dangerous, so sexy. But everybody knows, this isn’t what you need in your life. If someone feels dangerous but is super sexy and wants to go to your hotel room, prepare to be robbed haha.
- You don’t feel right, you feel sick or you just know that there is something wrong with your body. This can happen over night, or after an accident. Always have it check out professionally because I’m 100% sure you can feel it when something is wrong with your body. Don’t ignore this feeling and just pay the extra money if necessary, just be sure.
4x stay safe during solo travel (or literally just any type of traveling)
- Never drink too much. You don’t want to go out when you’re alone, and you have no idea if you can really trust your new best friend after two hours right?
- Never stay out at night if it’s not safe. I’ve had times that I’d always head back before sunset, just to be sure.
- When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Try to blend in, don’t wear a crop top to religious countries and just try to live and act like the locals.
- Trust your gut, if you feel unsafe, you probably are. If you feel uncomfortable with a person, try to ditch that person asap.