Recently noticed that yours truly looks like a broke bum and is alright with that. Not the unshaven, long haired, parachute pants aka thai fisherman pants wearing spiritual type though, surely not! Talking about just looking like a guy who could go back to school shopping after a long summer of wrestling cobras on clay. Old and extremely worn everything with a cell phone where the 5 works only sometimes. Black shorts so faded they look a rusty color of metallic brown.
When traveling abroad, especially when moving with all your gear, cash and identification; looking homeless is a very important matter. In any given city, there are usually countless potential marks walking around, taking photos, buying stuff and generally just “doing their thing”. There are also several sets of eyes looking for an opportunistic snag. We’ve all seen travelers come through where automatically your mind labels “some broke @$$ backpacker” who is about to barter for their life over a $3 room in any random Asian city of your choice…
Back home, people dress in nice clothes and even accessorize to stand out, to get noticed, to be unique or whatever. When you’re traveling the abroad and already part of an underwhelming minority, you’re already noticed. If you’re looking for cash instead of say dinner, a pack of hyenas would look for the best snag for the least work, similar to how they’d kill off some slow, young, sick or old prey. They’d see 10 potential marks in the area, those 3 look like they’d have the most stuff / cash based on our extremely limited knowledge on the topic.
When traveling do not for a second forget that you are most certainly “not home”. You’ll also hear countless stories and see many people doing the opposite of what common sense suggests. You don’t know how their whole trip goes, also remember you can run a red light or run a stop countless times until something dramatic occurs.
Met a gent in Vietnam, he had been traveling for 6 weeks and was mugged / almost mugged / scammed seriously 3 times. He wore a snazzy pair of sneakers and designer jeans, some collared lacoste or whatever and a “look at me” type cap of sorts. We had a conversation while I was dressed in a pair of skid(street kid in distress) like cargo shorts and a soiled white t-shirt. Not that it matters but we were both Canadians.
He was convinced that being a white dude makes you stand out already so it doesn’t matter. They will assume you have cash anyways and interested in mugging / scamming. I’m convinced those who will do that type of thing look to get a decent return for their risk and if all white guys are assumed to have cash, the wealthier looking will be considered more attractive targets.
We agreed to disagree.
Thought I added this earlier, wherever did it go!? If one is on a business trip or all inclusive resort, or enjoying the privileges of valet parking for jewel encrusted time machines, obviously this is not so applicable. More so for those who tend to get in the thick of it, so to speak.