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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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how to avert people's warnings

Anyone who's travelled has to listen to the dire stories of what you're about to experience. The murderers, rapists, and kipnappings that will surely befall you in the next country. I used to think it was because I was female, but then I learnt men also have to endure these warnings. It also doesn't seem to matter how many years you've traveled, or what countries/war zones/disasters etc you've already encountered. What's just around the corner will surely be worse.

I'd love to know how other people deal with this. Is there a tried and true line to shut people up? (Usually the advice comes from people who've never travelled, but not always.)
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Old 10 Feb 2008
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Lorraine,
Who knows what motivates some of these warnings. I have thought about this and think it is just people expressing their own fears and prejudices; sometimes it could be they envy the freedom the independent travel gives us. I could give you a long list of warnings I have had which have proved groundless.
How to deal with it? Well I just take it all in and make your own mind up, don't let it colour your judgment. They don't know what your people skills are or ability at handling difficult situations. The other aspect they don’t consider is how people see you (us) when we roll up;
I subscribe the theory that people reflect your atitude towards them.
Some warnings don't need to be tested, like for instance, someone telling me that a particular area is know for motorcycle thefts or downtown can be dodgy after dark.
I think we end up developing a travelers BS filter, listen and decide what’s useful and what not.
Empirical knowledge is a powerful resource and we don’t always know what we know.

Steve

Last edited by Guest2; 10 Feb 2008 at 17:48.
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Old 10 Feb 2008
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I'm not sure shutting people up is a good idea.

Instead, asking them to clarify WHY they say so (and based on WHOSE experience) gives a clearer idea as to whether the "warning" is really relevant in whatever minor way - or not at all.

Even if the info is pretty much useless, there may be something there which may just turn out to be a timely warning.
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Old 10 Feb 2008
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I don't think it's just a travel thing, I think "these" people know about anything and everything.
Where to buy tickets for the match, what pub to drink in, how to avoid paying income tax, many many scams and underhand tricks and wheezes.
Maybe they like to appear important and to do that they need to appear knowledgable but they're everywhere.
Just listen politely, acknowledge the information could be very useful, thank them and move swiftly on.
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Old 10 Feb 2008
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Well sometimes the advice is good - last April (approx) we got warnings about avoiding the motorway service areas along the Spanish Med. coast. I of course totally ignored the advice, and had two attempted breakins whilst having meals. You'd think that one attempt would have warned me off - but then I had the attitude "well its happened so wont happen again".

We got the same advice about avoiding the Goteborg to Oslo road later in the year - and we of course avoided it like the plague, so experience does affect how you view someone's advice.
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Old 11 Feb 2008
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"Empirical knowledge is a powerful resource and we don’t always know what we know."

Steve, I think this is very true. I forget there's a reason I don't carry a wallet/purse and scan the horizon constantly, whether walking or driving.

"Just listen politely, acknowledge the information could be very useful, thank them and move swiftly on."

Hustler, You're right. But you'd think after traveling/living for almost 30 years in 'risky' areas, much of it solo, people would assume there's a reason you've survived! And I guess that's my gripe. Can I have a little credit please??!

And so today, I head to Bolivia!

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Old 12 Feb 2008
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At first I listened to every warning someone gave me. Than I started to realize how much fear of the unknown that many of the locals have. Unless someone gives me a very specific warning based on current events I ignore it. I always listen to what someone has to say and say that I will follow their advice, but sometimes you just have to do the thing that they told you not to right in front of their face.

BTW: Some people are just jerks and want to scare you in front of their friends.
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