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An honest travel experience where I was stalked.

You never think it'll happen to you, until it does. Would you know what to do?

My newsletter is defined as “honest travel” so it doesn’t sit right with me to not talk about this. Unfortunately, vacation isn’t always butterflies, rainbows and five-star hotels.

Something very serious happened to me a couple months ago that I wanted to share because it can happen to any of us. You don’t have to be a female solo traveler to be stalked. I was with my dad (thank f*cking God) and my stalker, the hotel employee who gave me my room key and had access to it, was female.

I’m not writing this for sympathy, but yes it was very jarring and violating. What are the odds that a travel writer is stalked by a hotel employee? Can she be so dumb? Can I be so dumb? No one should ever feel dumb on vacation.

The days after were like whiplash, where it all hits you at once. But I did learn that when I’m pressed in an intense situation, my mind is clearer than on a regular day. There’s no room to be indecisive. In a sink or swim scenario, we can’t just float.

For my fellow travelers – once again, this can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. I’m not giving a guide to avoid this, because that’s not the way the world works. However, I'm sharing this honest travel experience to share some things that I know now and potential red flags that I will avoid moving forward…

I always used to talk about my itinerary with front desk employees.

Whenever I’m traveling, I always ask the employees at the front desk for local recommendations. It’s a genuine conversation where I’ll share some of my activities as well. No offense to myself, but this is actually pretty ballsy. The next day, the woman tried to go to the restaurant I was at because she knew where I was going and what time. Now, I never share any details about my trip with anyone I meet and although I still ask for recommendations, my guard is up to the roof.

You don’t know what a stranger is capable of let alone a mentally unstable person.

You really can’t run scenarios through your head because in these situations, logic is out the door and anything can happen. It’s f*cking scary. There were two confrontations in the lobby. She wouldn’t get out of my face and that’s when I realized that she was not stable so I tried my best to navigate it. My dad came into the lobby a few minutes later after parking the car and saw what was happening. There was yelling and she wouldn’t stop so I’m glad he was there. Hours later, I received angry emails as late as 11:30PM which led me to believe that this person was in the hotel after her shift, waiting for me based on what was written in the messages.

It’s not fair to blame yourself.

I’ve retraced every minute from the second I walked into that hotel (4-stars by the way), thinking what I could have done differently. I remember the person asked for my phone number, and I responded with, “but why do you need it because I’m already here”. She insisted that if they had it prior they could have made sure that the room had “the right scent” that I wanted, which baffled me.

Know who to call for help and it shouldn’t be someone thousands of miles away.

Don’t think that your issue isn’t big enough to call the police. If you call your mom or dad back home, what are they supposed to do to help you in the moment? You need to think logically and not emotionally.

Honest travel means to always trust your gut.

It’s hard to think hypothetically how you would react in a high pressure situation, like if you would freak the f*ck out or keep your cool and be your own hero. If something doesn’t feel right, remove yourself immediately. Be hyper aware. Don’t trust someone just because they’re an employee. Remember that tourists can be easy targets.

So, where does this leave me? I’d be lying if I said I don’t check the room twice before unpacking my bags now. I went on my first trip alone since this incident and it felt good to get back out there. Travel has always brought me so much joy and some of the greatest moments of my life…the last thing I want is to hate it. I’m not going to let her win.

Be careful out there,


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