Monday, March 24, 2014

Hotel Safety

This is a subject that I cannot write enough about.  It seems as though there are always new situations that arise to help me learn about being safe away from home, either alone or with others.

Last week while traveling for work I stayed in a very nice hotel in a good part of town with several people from the office and that always makes me feel more comfortable but I was quickly reminded to never let my guard down.  After having dinner with a co-worker downstairs at the hotel restaurant we headed back up to our rooms, we were on different floors - hers was key access only.  Just before the doors closed a man jumped on and when we asked what floor he simply nodded and never said where he was going. 

When the elevator stopped on my floor, he got off behind me and immediately I felt very uncomfortable.  I thought about what happened recently to my daughter and the blog post I wrote about her experience.  I decided to wait by the elevator to see if I could hear him going into a room before I went to mine.  When I didn't hear anything, I peeked around the corner only to see him looking up and down the hallway.  I quickly pushed the down button on the elevator to go back to the lobby.  When he came back around the corner, he was startled to see me standing there and I told him I had forgotten something downstairs.  He pushed the up button and just stared at me.  I was beginning to panic when his elevator came I waited until it closed and quickly ran to my room.  After alerting my friend and notifying the front desk I thought about how I could have handled that in a much safer way.

First, I would not have gotten off on my own floor.  I would have stayed on with her and called someone from the front desk to meet us.  I also would not have stayed by the elevators, I should have immediately gone back down to the lobby and asked for someone to go back up with me as there was a strange man wandering the hall.

Granted what I did do was better than just casually going to my room and let him see where I was staying but I did not go far enough to protect myself.  He may have just been lost but there is never a good reason to stay around to find out.  She and I both had a bad feeling when he got on the elevator but we were too busy chatting and because we were together we felt a false sense of security.  This was a great experience for me to heighten my personal awareness about staying safe no matter where I am or who I am with.


1 year on

It has been one year since I started this blog.  It has been a fantastic way for me to share my experiences with others in the international travel community.  Women's Independent Travel was born out of my love of all things travel and this blog has been a perfect forum to connect with like minded people and organizations which is something I truly miss as a solo traveler.  Now I feel as if I have an extended family around the world and I am very grateful for all the encouragement and support everywhere I go. 

Safe and happy travels to you all!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sentimental Journey

After a very strange and stressful week at work I was finally heading to the airport to go home.  When I arrived it was buzzing with activity, mostly sports fans and students on spring break so it was very loud and hectic.  I found the most quiet location possible and tried to focus on what would make my flight more pleasant so I decided to think about where I wanted to sit on the plane.  This airline does not assign seats which can be a blessing or a curse and with today's crowd I thought I better put all of my energy toward the positive so I could try to relax on my way home.  My request was simple - a seat on the aisle with room for my small bag overhead and a pleasant seatmate preferably between rows 5 - 20 on the plane.  I know it's silly but it can make all the difference between a easy and comfortable flight and an uncomfortable one.

Boarding the plane it was already more than half full and as I moved back I scoured the rows for my seat.  Finally, row 17 on the aisle, with plenty of overhead space - great!  As I sat down I realized it was 2 women with a small baby and that may have been why the seat was available.  I was thrilled, after becoming a grandmother almost 4 years ago it makes me very happy to be around young children. 

It was a young mother with her grandmother and 6 month old daughter.  I immediately began to relax and knew this would be a wonderful flight.  I chatted briefly with the women and played with the beautiful little girl until she fell asleep in her great-grandmothers arms.  Then it occurred to me - that could be me someday!  A tidal wave of emotion came over me as I thought about my grandchildren having children of their own and that we might take a trip together just like this lovely family and I could have my own great-grandchild sleeping in my arms.  What a beautiful and sentimental journey and one of the best trips I have ever had.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Slow Travel

As I think about planning my late winter holiday I've realized that my travel style has changed a great deal in recent years.  I'm no longer interested in the high octane, thrill seeking adventures as I once was.  Even going to extreme and exotic locations is just not high on my list anymore.  Now I am craving that journey that is sweet and slow, something peaceful and beautiful to rest my soul.