When I texted my mom that I had booked a trip to Mexico (in a five-star resort no less), her response wasn't exactly what I expected. Although, knowing my mom, maybe I should have. The initial response was a link to an article with pictures of a bloody corpse in a suitcase. This was followed by 15 straight minutes of rapid-fire texts with links to kidnapping reports, murder stats and official U.S. government travel alerts. The speed was impressive. It was like she already had the links bookmarked and ready to send just in case I ever decided to travel there. Well played, mom. Well played.
I thought I was wholly confident in my travel arrangements, but moms have a way. Had I made the wrong choice? Should we never leave the resort? What sort of ransom am I even worth?? Can my body even fit inside of a suitcase??!
I was already freaked out about Zika despite not being preggers. I didn't need another huge thing to worry about. So, I did what any child of Leslie Epstein would do, and I did more research. The place we're traveling to (the Yucatan) is not currently under any sort of travel warning from the U.S. government, but there are all sort of horror stories out there. Then I remembered something. I went to school in Baltimore City for four years and currently live in New York City where random slashing are now a daily occurrence. Surely I have some sense of awareness, right? Not to mention I've traveled abroad tons of times, I won't be traveling alone, and I will be staying in a fancy schmancy resort.
But that did lead me to think about general safety while traveling. My friend Anabelle is traveling around the world with Remote Year and is presently in Cordoba, Argentina. A place where (and I'm quoting Anabelle here) even the locals don't have smartphones out in public because they will get swiped. She's there for a full month. And guess what? She's not worried. Why? Because she keeps her badass bitch at the ready.
At night, she walks in groups. She never displays nice jewelry or tech. And she's constantly aware of her surroundings. Come to think of it, this is exactly what they taught us at MICA during orientation. Thanks, Baltimore!
Bottom line -- if you're afraid to go somewhere because of possible danger, do your research and if you choose to go, channel your inner Baltimore. (Also maybe hold off on telling your mom).
Hopefully the most dangerous thing I'll be facing in Mexico are drunken spring break bros.
Love ya, mom! Thanks for helping me keep my badass bitch always at the ready.