One Adventure Travel Technique I find to be extremely effective is the Stink Eye. Anyone who spends their travels in luxury resorts need not read any further, as I suspect the Stink Eye will not prove nearly as necessary in the situations you will find yourself. I, on the other hand, frequently engage the Stink Eye, as I tend to find myself in the occasional situation that is less than 100% fool proof. And very simply put, I would not have my travel any other way.
While I have no concrete statistics to prove its usefulness, I have found the The Stink Eye to be successful in my travels time and time again. It is simple to execute, and clearly states to anyone unlucky enough to be on the receiving end that they should STAY AWAY, GET LOST, NOT COME ONE STEP CLOSER, or DON’T EVEN THINK OF TARGETING ME AS A VICTIM, and most obviously, THAT’S RIGHT, PAL, I’VE GOT MY EYE ON YOU. Situations requiring use of the Stink Eye have included, (but are not limited to) crowded streets, uncrowded streets, both crowded and uncrowded metro stations, metros and buses, any form of public transportation, bars, any tourist attraction, any place with alcohol, any place at night, any place with a ratio of men largely outnumbering women, and any place where I am alone. Basically, it can be used anywhere.
The Stink Eye originated out of my own paranoia after lengthy online research involving key phrases such as “how to avoid being a victim”. Apparently, a good way to avoid being a victim is just to not look like a victim. Victims look small and timid, like they are afraid of everything. Not-victims look big and tough, and make eye contact with people to let them know they are not oblivious to their surroundings. Since I am not that big, and only mediocre-tough, I choose to focus my energy on the most promising of the requirements-eye contact.
Enter the Stink Eye. An effective Stink Eye can be achieved by anyone, and in any number of ways. I like to achieve mine by setting my mouth in a hard line while staring right at a person with narrowed eyes. If I am in a particularly vigorous mood I will try to channel some negative energy in the person’s direction. And that’s it! Just as simple as that.
It is my strong opinion that regular use of the Stink Eye has saved me from numerous travel debacles. Strange fellow approaches you at the bar? Give him the Stink Eye. Suspicious folks on the metro in Madrid? Give them the Stink Eye. (You may also want to employ the Adventure Travel Technique of Clutch Your Purse to Your Armpit). General icky feeling as though something isn’t quite right? Give anyone within close range the Stink Eye. As can be expected, the Stink Eye will not make you any friends. Not to worry. There will be other times and places for that. While I can not guarantee a 100% success rate with Stink Eye usage, it may greatly reduce your chances of being seen as a victim. And in my experience, it has even sent a few strangers turning sheepishly away from me while staring at the ground. I’ll take it. You can’t have a great travel experience if you’re a victim of theft or other crime, and any techniques are more tools in my travel tool box. All are keys to the best possible adventure.