It’s important to plan your trip carefully before going on vacation, regardless of how safe the area might be. Taking care of your newfound surroundings makes it more likely that you’ll have a new and exciting experience. Here are some tips to ensure your trip goes off without a hitch from start to finish.
It’s important to dress modestly and conservatively. This means covering your legs and arms, wearing a scarf/shawl around your neck, and having no cleavage or anything else that is too revealing. As women, we would do well to remember that we always attract attention, and much of that attention will be looking at our bodies. Depending on where you are going the culture may not allow women to show their body so go for long pants or full-length skirts, and loose clothing. You should also be sure to bring other equipment like a headscarf if you have hair showing. However much we may want to show skin or be fashionable, it’s just not worth the risk.
Wearing a smartwatch
A smartwatch is a wearable computer equipped with features such as a calendar, alarm clock, and text messaging. The latest models even include fitness tracking and GPS functionality. Security experts agree that personal security can be enhanced through the use of wearable technology like smartwatches. The advanced features such as instant notifications of threats to security, mapping, and workout functions allow users to keep track of their surroundings and reduce risk. Additionally, the ability to control and record video and audio footage on a smartwatch means that evidence is automatically recorded with each encounter, which can be used in criminal cases or for safety purposes when reporting crimes.
These Apple watch bands are suitable for women: SWEES silicon leather band, Nike sport band, Umaxget silicone watch band, and Pugo top stainless steel bling band.
It’s also important to wear comfortable shoes. That means closed-toed shoes, no high heels or sandals. You should bring along an extra pair of shoes to change into (like flip flops) while you’re on the plane or bus.
Pack items like deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, soap, razor, and toothbrush/toothpaste. This is important for personal hygiene and comfort. You can get most of these in travel sizes or sample sizes.
Bring all your medicines in their original containers and keep them in your carry-on luggage. If you take prescription medications, be sure to pack a few days’ extra dosages just in case of flight delays or other problems that might require you to stay longer than expected.
Prepare for dangerous areas
Although travelers are often told to avoid certain areas of the city or country they’re visiting, it can be difficult for women who want to explore their new surroundings on foot. Women can do this by concealing their money in different places on their bodies, instead of keeping all of it together in a purse or wallet. Avoid dangerous situations, such as accepting rides from strangers. It’s also best to travel with someone else if possible.
Paper spray or whistle
A pepper spray can be helpful if you’re going somewhere dangerous or you just need a little protection from animals that might bite you. A whistle is good for making noise if you’re in danger or lost.
Avoid sexual relationships
Many women experience that their holiday is spoiled by a sexual relationship with a local man. Some of them even wake up without their money and belongings – or worse—a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or a pregnancy! It’s simply not worth the risk.
- When walking through the streets of an unfamiliar city or country, stay in well-lit areas and use sidewalks if they are available. If you are in an area where there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic so that if someone approaches you, you can quickly step up on the road.
- Keep your cell phone charged at all times, so you do not miss any messages of possible danger. Have more than one way to communicate with people back home; try email or social media.
- Let someone back home know your travel plan and when to expect you. If you change plans and need to stay longer than scheduled, let them know immediately.
There are many things women can do before embarking on any journey, no matter how short or how long it will be. The above discussion helps women to ensure that they have everything they need during the trip.
I glanced around the jungle lodge I had been sipping coffee in with my friend Dickie, noting the citizens of this obscure local: there was a social media expert from France typing away at her Macbook, wild-haired Australian surfers discussing the morning’s waves, an American who used to be on a popular reality show and backpackers from all over the world, reading books and drinking tea.
What exactly was this place? A secret we were all in on to be sure.
This place was also like no other I’d ever enjoyed. Living in close-by San Juan del Sur, a charming seaside village on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, I’d heard of Maderas Village all the time: it was a surf camp only twenty minutes away, an artists’ colony, a Green hillside retreat overlooking the golden-waved Playa Maderas, or — and this was my favorite — it was a retirement community for young people. But what I found was a community of like-minded dynamic travelers and citizens of the world.
To be honest, I originally had no desire to visit Maderas Village, but there was my friend DeWitt Foster III (he reminded me to put in the III), their charming social director and all-around guest concierge, inviting me up to the Village to hang out before I left Nicaragua.
“My official job title is “Ambassador of Vibe,” he told me in all seriousness.
I promised him I would visit, mostly to get him off my back, and there I was on my last week in country. I stayed for two days but instantly regretted not coming earlier to live there for a couple of months. Upon arrival DeWitt showed me to my “room,” a bamboo and wooden lodge with a high paloopa ceiling made with palm fronds, and sliding screen walls opening up to the jungle canopy. There was a purposeful, minimalist design to the lodge that I sensed wasn’t an accident, and the only chairs were hanging down on thick ropes swinging from the ceiling.
DeWitt strolled by with a whistle and took me on the grand tour. I found it necessary to poke fun at the fact that he was in cowboy boots and surfing board shorts, but soon the joke was on me as I slid all over the hillside paths in my flip flops as we explored the grounds; jungle lodges in various stages of construction, future plans for a pool, and pockets of banana trees they’d planted. I saw the infrastructure of generators that lit up the village (they soon will be tied into an electric grid that relies significantly on wind power), and indeed the electricity to each room was on only during the day, just enough to charge your laptop or keep the music playing in the great room. They had their own wells and water tanks and tossed everything organic in a compost pile.
I learned the difference between a cabana, a cottage, and a casita, and how they used only naturally-fallen Nicaraguan timber and local artisans and craftsmen to build the village. DeWitt pointed out a great view of the ocean peeking through the trees, and explained that everything in the village was built to assimilate into the natural landscape, so we could see the beach from where we were, but if the surfers looked up the paloppa rooftops blended in and were invisible.
Maderas Village has nineteen structures of varying sizes that can accommodate a lone person or a whole family, ranging from dormitories in the main house for only $20 a night to private rooms with a bathroom for $65 or renting out a whole lodge for a group. You can even partner up with the village and purchase your own cabana, which they will build for you and manage as a rental property for guests when you’re not in town. Just leave your tropical clothing in your locked closet and all you have to bring is a carry-on bag when you fly down, less than three hours from Houston or Miami to Managua, an easy two-hour drive away from Playa Maderas.
Folks are welcome for a single night or months, as long as they wish, and more than one guest has come on a whim and ended up living there. I could see how that would be tempting – when I saw those wooden writing tables, those colorful hammocks, everything light and airy, when I felt that warm breeze with a faint smell of the ocean below us, I envisioned setting up shop and writing the next great novel there (or just taking a killer nap in the hammock).
Indeed, they are trying to foster an artists’ community and encourage guests to paint, write, meditate, play music, or invigorate their creative juices. “It’s a place for friends to live and think and create,” Dickie simplified it. But this isn’t your Aunt Irma’s crunchy Kibbutz – Maderas Village has played host to corporate think tanks and executive teams who needed to sequester themselves and solve big time problems. Even the owners/partners in the project are ex-corporate heavy weights, financiers, real estate developers, attorneys, and businesspeople from all over the world who chose to eschew the profit-above-all-else mentality. They even have a partner nicknamed “Black Jesus,” a highly-evolved cat from Philly who used to have a corner office at a big bank but now serves as the village’s Wellness Director.
We rounded up our tour and went to hang out in the open-aired great room of the main house where guests congregate and share all of their meals family style. The adjacent kitchen served fantastic, simple dishes and festive Pescatarian dinners. But that night it was Monday, Pizza Night, so the whole lot of us packed into a cramped shuttle and navigated the jungle roads until we reached Sergio’s ranch house, an Italian gentlemen with a handlebar mustache and a passion for rock who owns a little pizza restaurant in San Juan del Sur, who once a week makes oven-baked fresh pies for his house guests.
After a night of listening to howler monkeys traipse through the jungle I woke to dazzling sunlight and fresh café. I went along with some eager surfers who walked down a steep dirt road to Playa Maderas. I’m not a surfer but I can appreciate a great beach, complete with a rustic shack where locals sold cold Tona beer, orange Fantas, and amazing fish tacos while blaring reggae music. By midday the shuttles had arrived from San Juan and the beach was crowded with young backpackers and surfers. There they were, all sitting on their boards in the lineup until sunset, waiting for the next set to come in and their turn to ride the waves. I’m told it’s safe on the beach and the locals get along great with the tourists. There was no “localism” and there didn’t seem to be territorial problems — Nicaragua’s surf champions regularly share waves with beginners and tourists, and only smile and give them some pointers when someone unknowingly steals their wave.
Once the sky went from pink to orange to dark purple they all grabbed their boards and we headed back up the hill, stopping only for a freshwater shower and a rum and gingerale at a jungle bar that had pictures of Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Marley, and Che Guevara on the wall while playing Manu Chao’s Clandestino, the song about secrets.
What an interesting place.
The next day it was time for me to head back to the “real” world of San Juan del Sur and pack up my apartment for my exit from Nicaragua. I said goodbye to all of my new friends – Dickie, DeWitt, Sabrina, Justin B, and Reggie from Denver, and the wonderful staff members, all locals and family themselves. We hugged it out and then did it all again ten minutes later when the truck hadn’t arrived yet. I didn’t want to go. I think all the writing in the world can’t describe a place as well as that sentiment – I didn’t want to leave.
As I waited for my shuttle back into town I heard something just around the corner, out back of the kitchen. I took a step around to see what it was and saw three of the Nicaraguan women who worked at Maderas Village. They were laughing at something, heads thrown back, tears in their eyes, really in hysterics, not at all concerned with who heard or saw them. It sounded great, and I couldn’t help but smile, too. I realized that I’d never seen that in a resort or a hotel – the staff were always pleasant but maintained a fragile silence, like they were just putting on a show, but these gals were really laughing and the spirit of their celebration was contagious. Soon it died down to a giggle as they dried their eyes and went back to work, but it left me with a thought as I got on the shuttle and d
Maybe that’s exactly what separates Maderas Village from the other ubiquitous ex-pat hotspots: it’s not a place for people who can’t make it in the real world, it’s for those who want to make it a better world.
Norm Schriever is a humorist, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. He’s currently living in Nicaragua and writing his second book, South of Normal.
1. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain
2. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
3. “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
4. “The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson
5. “All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.” – Paul Fussell
6. “Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac
7. “He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb
8. “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” – Dagobert D. Runes
9. “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck
10. “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
11. “Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty-his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.” – Aldous Huxley
12. “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” – Samuel Johnson
13. “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
14. “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
15. “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
16″A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi
17. “When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence
18. “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark
19. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
20. “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
21. “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
22. “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru
23. “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux
24. “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
25. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson