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Trusting your travel gut for safety and daily life

travel gut, traveler's iinstinct

Using your travel gut

Sometimes, knowing yourself and stubbornly sticking to your principles pays off. Sometimes, it doesn’t, but everything in life is a gamble.  And yet, some gambles feel bigger and riskier than others , especially when what’s on that table is your life.

Should I ? Shouldn’t I? What happens if I don’t? What happens if I do? Is this the key to my future? Is this opportunity my last?…

Some decisions can feel like choosing between life or death. Much like a Rubick’s cube, there’s many ways to approach that decision, but ultimately, there’s only one answer– either you did or you didn’t.  Thus, some decisions can feel challenging.

Thankfully, I’m a solo traveler and it’s taught me a lot about guts.

Listening to your travel gut

Gut(s) is something I’ve learned to acquire and hone through traveling alone. Gut, instinct, survival, intuition, angels… whatever you want to call it, it’s pretty near the same.  It’s a little voice or feeling inside that lets you know when something just isn’t right …and when it is!

Traveler’s gut is a survival instinct which quickly surfaces, when we’re in unfamiliar territory, both culturally and environmentally. It arises powerfully, when we have to make quick decisions based on a lack of information or road map.

I often notice my travel instinct hone itself on-the-road,  when I dodge scams or know who is safe to approach for help or directions.   Listening to it often steers me away from danger into safety or helps me find my way in uncertain territory.

Imagine yourself walking down a dark tunnel. There’s little to no visibility in front or behind you. Your survival instinct automatically kicks into heightened alert and puts out highly sensitive feelers in order to grasp at any bits of information of walls or trip rocks, to avoid face-planting into something dangerous.  A warm breeze or the sound of a bird in the distance alerts you that a decision is at hand.

Yes, walk towards it!! “, your gut says, sensing the way out is near.

That dark tunnel is very similar to travel. It is also similar to life.  We don’t know what lies ahead in the future. Our instinct for survival helps us find our way.

The guts of a female solo traveler

Traveling alone only strengthens my survival mechanism as I alone, must make decisions which determine my path and its safety.   Sometimes it’s so strong, it practically grows it’s own head and belches !

This does not feel like the street I took to get to my guesthouse. … The tour price I was quoted feels a little too good to be true. ..This person does not feel like they are who they say they are. …You just passed your bus stop- get off now! 

I’d venture to say that developing ‘guts’ was a huge secret perk of traveling solo! Knowing what my ‘gut’ feels like, helps me out in normal everyday life situations and it’s been more accurate than a magic 8 ball.

From travel to gut decisions in daily life

If you’ve been keeping up on my Facebook statuses, then you’ll know that last week my job stress was about whether or not I’d take a flight attendant in-person job interview, when it required me to invest in two nights at a hotel (and under a wham-bam pressure cooker itinerary).  The flight itinerary I was given felt quite cruel and beyond the call for any prospective job interviewee. But the knowledge that there are thousands of flight attendant hopefuls, who will gladly open up their pockets for that chance at an opportunity, did not help balance my perspective.  Instead, it made me second guess myself.

Now,…  I believe in myself as capable, able and qualified, but these interviews are highly scrutinizing to the point, it’s never certain whether you’ll get disqualified for dropping your smile for ten seconds or not answering a question in the right protocol. Flight attendant interviews are like psychology/personality tests. Even if I did  pass the obstacle course of an in-person interview, it doesn’t guarantee a job.  There’s weeks to months of unpaid training of which, at any point I could be disqualified for not meeting standards.

Attending an interview is an opportunity. Rushing and hurriedly throwing your clothes into a bag and spending big sums of money to attend it… is a gamble.

Grrrltraveler fb flight attendant

FB Status

Although I declined the interview and purposely missed my flight, I also sensed there might be a possibility,  they could reschedule me. The logic of my mind said those chances were slim to none, especially as their email to me explicitly said that rescheduling is not possible.  My gut however, felt this opportunity was all wrong; that either there was a 90% chance rescheduling could happen or that another opportunity would present itself.

Even if I couldn’t see it and it defied logic,  I had to trust it.

So I sent a followup email explaining my reasons for not boarding my flight and explained I’d be happy to reschedule a more financially-workable itinerary.  I didn’t hear back from the company that week. Some friends wondered if I didn’t make a mistake.  But every time I started to question whether it was a lost opportunity (whimper), my gut came back feeling even more resolute: Chris, you did right.

Today I received an email from that airlines offering a rescheduled appointment.

Perhaps a better way does indeed ,exist;  if it does, then my gut saved me expense, time and what ultimately might have really lost me an opportunity. If a better way does not exist, then it doesn’t.

I guess we’ll find out.

But until then, Hooray for travel guts!   I count my lucky stars for being a solo traveler.

When was a time you trusted your gut and everything turned out right?



  1. Jaime says:

    Good decision. It’s tough to say no to an opportunity; especially when there doesn’t seem to be many alternatives. But taking what is clearly a risk and bastardizing yourself is never the answer. There are many opportunities out there…sometimes you just need a different perspective. :0)

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Jaime: Love what you said :

      There are many opportunities out there…sometimes you just need a different perspective.

      This is true. Some “opportunities” really aren’t opportunities and some things that may not seem it are.

  2. You are really inspirational =D

  3. I completely agree, it’s so important to follow your gut instinct especially being a girl and travelling solo! So important for everyone to understand!

  4. Jeff Broman says:

    Good deal. It great that they called you back.

  5. Wow, I hope this changed of events turns to good fortune for your “almost” dream job. Hope we’ll be on the same flight some day. Congratulation… 🙂

  6. One of the good things about travelling is that it hones one’s gut instincts. Gut instincts are often right, you just need to know how to listen and act on it. Thanks for sharing your post, this will remind travelers that trusting yourself is very crucial when traveling solo.

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