Crippin’ safely

Posted by Jay in Travel on August 11th, 2014

Travelling while crip is already hard enough without having to worry about getting attacked, mugged or ending up on the news for all the wrong reasons. Having travelled by myself for a lot of my trips, I have had my fair share of creeps, weirdos and marriage proposals. But I have thankfully been able to come out of each situation okay, and here’s a few instances and a few tricks that I have learned along the way.

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Speak up for yourself

Given the fact that I can’t run away, whenever I have ever experienced threatening or alarming behaviour by someone else [nearly always men btw], I have had to confront the situation head on. This was the case when I was walking with a friend in East London and this man kept coming up to us and just wouldn’t take our silence as a clear indication that we did not want to talk to him. So I politely and firmly told him that we would appreciate it if he stopped following us, and he backed off. While this of course will not always work, what I have found is that people hate being ignored, so I just talk to them and let them know that I do not like what they are doing. And pray that nothing further comes from it.

This was further proven when I was on my tour of the US and was on a night train in Chicago by myself. This guy kept talking loudly to his friends and then turned his attention to me and started asking me over and over in an increasingly aggressive manner if I wanted to buy some earrings. Once I had told him no thanks, he turned his focus onto my “amazing accent” and we actually got into quite a friendly conversation and he wished me well on the rest of my trip. Yes, being British could end up saving your life. God save the Queen.

Walk with determination

Having lived in a big city all my life, I am always very aware of my surroundings, and even though I get lost pretty much all the time I make sure to always look like I know where I am going, especially during the night. I learned this from an old episode of Crimewatch, as people are always seen as an easy target, i.e a tourist who doesn’t know where they are. I always try to walk with determination, like I know exactly where I want to be and how I am going to get there. Even if I have looped around the same pub for the second time in a row.

Hear no evil

A big issue nowadays is that people are always on their phone listening to something or on their iPods, meaning that you can’t always hear what’s going on around you. So while I may be on my phone on the tube or in the bus, once I am walking home, I try to make sure that I am aware of what is happening around me as at the very least it will give you a few seconds extra to react to something.

Make ’em laugh

All of my marriage proposals have come from old men that smell like breweries, and even though one has tried to kiss me before, I can usually get out of it by cracking a joke or two and they get on with whatever it was before they proposed.

Disabled or not, it’s always important to keep safe whether you’re at home or somewhere unfamiliar.

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about Jayon UPDATE: As of 25/09/2015 Nigeria has been removed from the WHO's Polio Endemic List! Having been born in Nigeria, I hail from one of three countries where polio is still unfortunately endemic, the other two being Pakistan and Afghanistan. I had contracted the poliovirus before my ...Read More

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