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After much trial and error, I think I have the travel and expat game down pat. Each of us has considerations that are more important than the others, but I have found the formula below to be a great one over the years.
Yes, your trip will cost some money so you should begin budgeting for travel, lodging, food, and entertainment. For you young men, you should save your money for a once a year or once every 2 years trip to a different country than you have been to before. Don't buy that new laptop, iPhone, or Blackberry. Safe the money for your exploratory trips!
For unmarried middle aged men, it is far easier for you to travel 4 times a year when you are single with no kids. Your savings and salaries are generally higher at that point in life.
Indispensable Security Item
When I am overseas, I never leave home without an ASP collapsible baton. This can save your life, and give you the means to stand your ground when tested. Always place it in your checked baggage and put it in your shaving kit. My ready excuse is that it is a dog baton for when I jog, but only twice has it even been questioned.
Avoid trouble and fighting at all costs overseas, and never get drunk, EVER. You are already ripe as a target so if you are drunk, you are as good as robbed. In those cases where trouble invites itself over to you, walk away, inform a staff member, and do your thing. But, when you are attacked, the ASP can be a lethal response with one strike. I suggest only striking muscle mass because bone will shatter from an ASP strike which will compound your troubles immensely.
A 4 to 6 inch model is fine to have hidden in your pocket. I hand it over to bouncers and security guards and they are glad to hold it for me in clubs.
A traveler should have 2 or 3 in storage in case one is taken by customs overseas. It has never happened to me however.
The Expat's Cell Phone
Leave your Iphone at home and get yourself a Mobal SIM card (Mobal.com) which is good anywhere in the world. With this card, you will always have the same number no matter what country and people can always contact you. The Mobal phone is a bit expensive in their call rates, but it is worth it. There is no contract to sign, minutes to use up, or anything. You only pay for what you use and the phone can sit for a year without any charges accruing.
The text messaging on Mobal is super cheap and that's what most girls use in my experience anyway.
Where Should You Travel
You should travel to the poorest countries that have the women you find most attractive. Even if your visit to that country ends up that you do not like that country, odds are a neighboring country to that one might suit you far better. For example, I thought I would like Bulgaria, but a visit there proved to be lackluster for me. I then took the 30 minute flight to neighboring Romania and had an absolute blast of a time!
If you stay in the capital cities first, you will find many people who speak English very well. Many of the smaller towns have English speakers in this age of the internet and cable TV programming from the US.
Strike up conversations with some hotel clerks, bartenders, waitresses, or others. Most people are very open to interacting with Americans since they likely never met one in person. These people can be valuable resources as to where to eat, stay, hang-out, and where to avoid.
Countries And Travel Plans To Avoid
My man from singleabroad.com summed it up when he wrote that you should avoid......
Pretty much all Western Europe, particularly London, Paris, Amsterdam, and other large cities.
Places that are heavily promoted in the West as vacation spots: Negril, Jamaica, Cancun, Cabo, Mexico, etc. At these places you are mostly going to meet American and European tourists and local prostitutes.
Avoid "resorts" and "cruises" ("expensive, rip off centers of cheesy boredom" is a good description I heard). "Singles cruises" and "singles trips" are the worst; you'll be spending time with spoiled aging American women looking for a quick lay or a "provider".
How You Should Dress
When traveling abroad, you should not even bring sneakers unless you like to jog regularly. Bring nice looking walking shoes that can go well with shorts in the day time, and with jeans and a blazer at night. Think Clarks or Rockport type shoes. Shoes bring the air of sophistication and women respond well to that. A cheap blazer with a t-shirt and jeans make you a possible rich man in the eyes of all the ladies. Save the oversized hip hop gear for back home or your little brother.
Don't wear rings and watches in the street at night. I do wear them but I put them on in the restroom after I arrive at clubs and bars, them remove them and place them in the blazer pockets when I leave. This deters crime and makes you less of a target for jealous local men.
Leave most of your cash, most of your credit cards, and your passport in the hotel locked in a safe or in your luggage. If you are robbed, you don't want to be left without options for money. Only walk around with a copy of your passport on your person.
If you are sick, in trouble or you lose a passport, each US Embassy has an American Citizen Services section that will help you out with loans, temporary passport documents, or hospital/jail visits if it comes to that. Always have their number handy and register online with the State Department so they can assist you in a disaster by knowing you are in country: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/
Your Most Likely Enemies Abroad
Be pleasant, but trust no one, especially men, in another country. Everyone will be curious, but curious about how to dupe you. Don't get into cars with new "friends," don't flash money around, and don't ever trust a cab driver. Always insist on the fare before the cab ride or they will pump up the price without a meter. Cab drivers are the WORST.
Women who are too friendly are likely prostitutes or opportunists. Never listen to their sob stories and loan them money. Most women who are interested in you from poor countries will offer to pay for some or all of drinks, dinner, et cetera. Don't be a dupe.
When The Travel Bug Bites
After a 1 to 3 trips to different regions, you will be a pro and you will crave the time when your next trip begins. When you get a taste of being treated as an equal human being, as attractive human being from pretty women, and as the man that you are, you will have been bitten by the bug!
If You Happen To Meet The Lady Of Your Dreams
You will likely meet women you would have never dreamed of in short measure. Don't lose your head. Try to meet a plan B, a plan C, et cetera. Don't propose and don't start planning to bring her to America. Make it clear from the start that you would rather settle down there and start a family with her. Whatever you do, do not marry! It is better to shack up with a lady, have kids and live happily ever after. Marriage impedes your ability to just cut and run if you ever need to do so.
Initially you will simply be enjoying your adventure and new life experience. But your goal should be to find the place or places that you want to retire or live in (unmarried) with your young woman and any kids you might have with her. I know several men living with their women abroad who plan to do so till the very end. It's a great idea and one that I will embark upon at age 50 as soon as the pension kicks in!
You may be able to escape your country, but one cannot escape themselves. If one has serious unresolved personal issues, moving to another country will not help much. The level of serious dysfunction with expats is so prevalent that I generally avoid contact with expats unless I know otherwise. Other expats can be one of your most serious hazards overseas. The expat population is rich with psychos, nuts being paid by their family to stay away, pedophiles, rip-off artists, and other opportunists. The temptation in other countries is for visitors/new expats who are still rather uncomfortable, to immediately see some kind of bond with another
person from their home country. That can be a very dangerous weakness.
By far, the most common security problem for expats is their own mind, or should I say, lack of mind. If you are a perennial
competitor for the Darwin Award, that is, simply being too stupid to live, then eventually, you will get what you have coming.
The advice against getting drunk is quite worth heeding. The vast majority of problems I observe with expats spring from
actions that are really really stupid.
If you are a sleazebag, do not expect locals or others to respect you. The fat ass, the wife beater t-shirt, and flip flops, just might make you look like a degenerate idiot...it's a "duh" moment. If you are respectful, observant, and living straight, the locals are not stupid- they will observe that you are "different" than the average expat slob they see. This respect by locals can take you far.
Contrary to much of what is posted here, paying a prostitute for sex is not a date. Generally if you are seeking an actual date, especially with girls that are not from the lowest socioeconomic levels of society, you will need to be seen by families as
"respectable". This likely means that you are not the type that spends most evenings chasing bar girls. It likely means that in the place you live, you have other interests, vocations, and passions in life beyond paying poor girls to sell themselves for sex...as if having $20 to pay a GRO in the Philippines somehow makes you an expert on women. An 80 year old burn victim with one eye and no teeth could likely accomplish as much. It's a bore...who cares...guys hook up long term with bar girls and wonder why the locals or people they work with do not have much respect for them...
Are you succeeding as an expat? Well of course that is subjective. I might wonder, if you have a decent regular source of income enough to allow you to sustain yourself as well as thrive...if you are learning the local language...if you have some kind of home, whether house or apartment (Vs flop-house in the red light district) and you are having sustainable relationships with others...then perhaps you are on your way to earning your expat stripes...you don't agree? No problem..enjoy whatever it is that your are doing...it is quite unlikely that we will ever cross paths anyway...
The contrarian expat has some decent advice...but there are a lot of dumb-asses who will just continue on their idiotic path...and bitch nonstop when they get hosed.
"A word to the wise is unnecessary"
Last edited by Nate on December 6th, 2009, 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This is true, in fact I just made the same point on a similar thread a short time ago.
Stay way away from Mobal. It is more expensive than roaming with your regular SIM! Go to prepaidgsm.net for advice on other SIMs. Also, Mobal is post-paid & requires a credit card in order to get. Stay way away from it. If your travels take you to Europe, you may do nicely getting one of the many British SIMs that have decent roaming rates across the EU thanks to the recent roaming regulations. I recommend eKit if you are travelling to a variety of countries on a trip vs staying in a few countries for longer (in which you would benefit more by getting a local SIM than).
I like the collapsible baton Idea, I may get one now...
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.
My suggestion is to develop the skills, experience and intelligence so that one never needs to be armed and like Sun Tsu, you avoid war before it ever happens. That is how you win.
I walk around dark alleys at night. I have not been assaulted in decades, and there is a reason for this.
I can sense trouble a mile away, and I will and have crossed the street, turned around, changed directions, when I sensed bad vibes. I worked in clubs for 25 years, walked in the dark in WDC for 20. I know thugs, can smell em. It isn't hard.
If you cannot sense criminals via body language and such, I strongly suggest you never venture out from your Marriott during the evening. If you would be scared in a major US East Coast city after dark - NYC, Philly , DC, Detroit - then you would be scared in most cities outside the USA/EU.
Going to clubs at night is just asking for trouble, because that is where most trouble is. If you leave enough Termas at 3 am eventually you will find trouble, and it is because you went looking for it by going out at night so often. Reduce your risk profile and stop going to clubs late at night.
Hell, just drop the clubs. Grown men over 35 rarely head to them anyhows.
If you ventured out in some of the high crime countries that I have been to, you would not last long with that attitude.
WDC is a joke for crime compared to many of these places. I've lived in DC for several years and it is common knowledge that most of the violent crime is focused within the criminal communities with few exceptions.
If WDC or some other US big city is your example for high-crime, then you do not know the worst of urban crime.
Wrong again. The near misses that I experienced were in broad daylight, and both times my ASP fended off drug addicted thugs looking to dispossess the "foreigner" from his cash. Nighttime has never been a problem for me. Night time is an opportunity to socialize, and your paranoid fear of it indicates that you might be better off staying in the US.
'If WDC or some other US big city is your example for high-crime, then you do not know the worst of urban crime.'
Having been held up at gunpoint in DC and personally knowing many peoiple who were murdered in DC, I will stand by my statement.
In the mid 1980's DC was f***ing LETHAL, and the bodycount in my social circle of 12+ supports this.
I returned to DC in 2001 and the blatant FEAR on everyones face just walking down the street or grabbing coffee in Cleveland Park - the place is a f***ed up shooting gallery where people live in fear all the time.
If you cannot tell that the guy up the street is looking to rob you in broad daylight then carry an ASP. I can tell, thus I avoid trouble before it starts. I get into this convo often. People think I am full of shit or careless. Fact is that some people can read other people very well.
'Night time is an opportunity to socialize, and your paranoid fear of it indicates that you might be better off staying in the US.'
I am not in the USA. You are lecturing someone who has spent more time out in clubs than you ever will. I used to own one. 20 years 6 nights a week in clubs. And your experience is...?
Trouble would usually occur late at night, and I discovered that when I changed careers I began to NOT hear about such incidents as I had changed my risk profile and socialised with people who knew how to avoid trouble before it began. All those smash and grabs in my neighborhood in DC were always late at night 12m-5am. Every Th-Fr-Sat Morning I would see piles of auto safety glass in 2 or 3 locations while walking to work. If I am home asleep and not out walking by these people, risk drops.
If you are incapable of recognising drug addicts looking to releive a rich tourist of his income, then carry an ASP.
I can recognise such threats, thus I avoid them before they begin.
Yes, I know. I am full of shit and making this up. No one has this abilty, right?
I can remember when i was in manilla seeing beggars in the street and people with black patches on their skin lying on the street. I ventured from
my hotel early and the friendly try to sell me something people were right there. First one so friendly trying to sell me viagra then another leading me
far away from the hotel being so frindly touching my arm then out of nowhere the 3rd is grabbing my wallet which brought on threats and kicks from me.
i wasnt about to be a victim. All i can say is beware of the street vendors they will try to robb you in broad dayight if there are no witnesses. So it is a good policy not to venture out late at night or early in the morning because these are times of few witnesses unless you have a weapon and are prepared.
If you have a witness or girlfriend then it is much safer.
I can toss in my 2 cents worth...having lived in both Latin America and Asia...true enough, daylight attacks do happen, but I have to agree that going to bars/clubs late night substantially increases your risk in any city I have been in. I cannot count the times I have been told the tale by another clueless expat victim...about how he got robbed/beat up, and by the time the story really comes out, it usually involved late nights, girls and/or alcohol. For those looking for easy prey, few targets are as easy as an expat in unfamiliar territory, with cash, probably with senses that have been dulled by alcohol, and his mind set on the last nice piece of split tail he met...
Of course, the riff-Raff and underbelly of society bloom by the light of the moon. In about any city around, if you are avoiding the night scene and red light districts, your risk goes down a lot. At the same time, to assume that daylight is ok, might lead you to a disaster.
And there is that ability that many imagine they have and few actually do- real street smarts, and a sixth sense for avoiding trouble, or anticipating it a bit earlier than most, so that you can take action. Seconds count. Avoiding trouble by reading the street and reading people can make the difference between life and death, or between enjoying your trip or having to worry about how you will get out of the country. I do have a certain background that might have allowed me to be more prepared than most, but there have been times when reading trouble early really saved the day. It allows one to take proactive action that will derail the opponents plan of action, so that all of their assumptions degrade. One can have advanced means of defense and attack at their disposal and it is very important to never use it unless you absolutely have no choice. Much like an experienced hunter can read the forest...one can of course read the street and avoid trouble most of the time when others would have fallen into it.
And Manila? I might go there if I really have to visit the embassy, but otherwise it is a shit-hole....the news always has some bit...
Foreigner robbed in Angeles City...British national stabbed in Manila...blah blah blah on it goes...in most cases, another dumb-ass bites the dust...
But even taking precautions and having your wits about you, you can still end up in trouble. Once in Latin America I made one fleeting mistake in judgment, most likely based on the really fine tits a certain Latina was making available, and it came close to being my last day...I made one mistake and ended up in the company of about 500Kg of coke at a really bad time, (It was an army raid) and only luck and a few milliseconds of divine inspiration saved me. Bad company can really cost you your life.
Have purpose in life...live straight...find a really good family with a beautiful daughter to make your own...and life can be pretty good.
Well that may be...fortunately, it is not my line of business, but in some parts of SA one can end up in real trouble
by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. My guestimate on the amount was based on volume in hidden compartments...was somewhere in that range...of course the "street value" in the USA is achieved in the course of vast increases in value at every step in the smuggling chain. Maybe I should have referred to it as "The wrong girlfriend at the wrong place and time...". A world to really stay clear of...just look at things in Mexico right now...