I still recall the time when I was drinking alone in a pub in a seaside village in Ireland, making small talk with two local women. The general questioning began, “Where are you from, what do you do, where are you staying?”  Eventually, one of them said to me, “You should come back to our place for drinks and dancing.” No, I don’t think so. I smiled back at them yet looked suspiciously between them. I could see four young men seated at the other side of the pub counter, and they were giving me the fiercest looks.

One of them woman noticed them, squeezed my arm and whispered to me, “Get a move on”. She said they were the village locals and hated outsiders. I gulped my beer and left quickly. I was outnumbered at I didn’t need trouble. No doubt a story like mine has happened to a million travelers the world over. Was the group going to stomp me; likely. What else could have happened? I don’t know. The last place I’d been, I was attacked by a lot of drunks.

Always look around for exits when you enter an establishment. What if a fire traps people, what if a terror attack happens, what if there is an earthquake? Many things to consider.

Be mindful of elicitation. It is a ploy used to extract intelligence information from you. A friendly discussion is used to determine whether you have valuable information, such as how wealthy you are or how many people you are travelling with.

Another technique is assessment. Assessment is a technique used to assess your beliefs, attitudes or any other areas that can be exploited.

Eavesdropping. The extractor listens to other peoples’ conversation to gather information. I have heard too many people brag something loudly and drunkenly such as, “Yeah I work at the embassy!” or “I’m travelling alone.” In the belief it impresses the person they are talking to. Is doing this harmless? It could be but show some restraint.

Here are a few other pointers:

Trust Your Instincts:

  • If something feels off or makes you uncomfortable, trust your instincts. If you sense danger, it’s okay to remove yourself from the situation. Instincts manifest in various ways, from a slight feeling of discomfort to an undeniable sense of danger. It could be a tingling sensation, a knot in your stomach, or simply a feeling that something isn’t right.
  • Pay attention to these signals, especially in unfamiliar or potentially risky situations. Your instincts are your early-warning system, and acknowledging them is the first step towards staying safe. Trusting your instincts isn’t just reserved for extreme situations.
  • Whether you’re walking down a dimly lit street, meeting new people, or even making decisions in your professional life, your instincts can guide you. They serve as a valuable tool in helping you navigate the complexities of life, contributing to better decision-making and increased self-awareness.
  • Practice mindfulness, stay present in the moment, and pay attention to your surroundings. The more connected you are to your own thoughts and feelings, the more effectively you can recognize and respond to your instincts when they kick in.

Stay Sober: I’m not against having good drinks in a public setting, however have some sense of where you’re at, and who is around you.

  • Sobriety allows you to think more clearly and make better decisions. Alcohol and drugs can impair cognitive function and judgment, increasing the likelihood of making risky choices or putting yourself in potentially dangerous situations.
  • Sobriety promotes heightened awareness of your surroundings. Being alert and attentive is crucial for personal safety, as it enables you to notice potential risks and respond appropriately.
  • Substance use, especially alcohol, can slow down reaction time. In situations that require quick thinking and action, being sober can make a significant difference in your ability to respond promptly and effectively.
  • Sobriety contributes to clear and effective communication. Misunderstandings and conflicts are less likely to arise when individuals are in a sober state, leading to smoother interactions and reducing the chances of confrontations.

Prioritize Personal Safety:

  • Your safety should always be a top priority. Having a plan in place means you’ve considered the potential risks and taken steps to mitigate them. It’s a simple yet effective way to protect yourself in unfamiliar or unpredictable situations. When the night is in full swing, and you’re having a good time, it’s easy to let your guard down. Having a predetermined plan helps you avoid making impaired decisions, such as accepting rides from strangers or walking alone in poorly lit areas.
  • Letting someone know your plans is a smart and responsible practice. Inform a friend, family member, or roommate about where you’re going, whom you’ll be with, and when you expect to return. This way, there’s someone who can check in on you if needed.
  • Having a plan creates a sense of accountability. When others are aware of your intentions, they can offer support and assistance if your plans change or if you encounter unexpected challenges.
  • Consider arranging reliable transportation in advance. Whether it’s a designated driver, rideshare service, or public transportation, having a ride lined up ensures that you won’t be stranded or tempted to make unsafe travel decisions in the heat of the moment. In unfamiliar places, it’s easy to get disoriented, especially if you’ve had a few drinks. Having a plan for how you’ll get home helps prevent getting lost or ending up in potentially risky areas. Planning ahead saves time and energy. Instead of figuring out your transportation options when you’re already tired or in a hurry, having a plan allows for a smoother transition from the event to the safety of your home.
  • A well-thought-out plan provides a framework, but it’s essential to remain adaptable. In case of emergencies or unexpected changes, having a plan allows for quicker decision-making and a more controlled response.
  • Finally, having a plan grants you peace of mind. Knowing that you have a reliable way to get home safely allows you to relax and enjoy your time out, confident that you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure a secure return. In the end, having a plan is a small investment with significant returns—it’s your ticket to a safer, more enjoyable night out. So, before you step out the door, take a moment to plan your journey home. Your future self will thank you for it.

I was just a hapless and unimportant tourist, and not Jason Bourne. However, I didn’t want to be the victim of a robbery or head-stomping Bars are places where people often consume alcoholic beverages. It’s important to be mindful of your own alcohol consumption and that of others around you. Excessive drinking can impair judgment, coordination, and decision-making, potentially leading to risky situations.


Bars attract a diverse crowd, and not everyone may have good intentions. Being cautious helps you stay aware of your surroundings and minimizes the risk of encountering individuals with malicious motives. Crowded bars can create opportunities for theft or loss of personal belongings. Keep a close eye on your belongings, such as wallets, phones, and bags, to prevent them from being misplaced or taken.

Always be vigilant about your drinks. Accepting drinks from strangers can be risky, as they may be spiked with substances that can lead to incapacitation. It’s safer to watch your drink being prepared or to keep it with you at all times. If you’ve been drinking, it’s crucial to have a plan for getting home safely. Designate a sober driver, use public transportation, or arrange for a rideshare service to ensure you don’t drive under the influence.

When ordering a drink, especially in a busy bar, it’s wise to watch the bartender prepare it. This minimizes the risk of unwanted substances being added to your drink.

Stay aware of the people around you and the overall atmosphere in the bar. Being observant allows you to detect and respond to potentially uncomfortable or unsafe situations.

If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts. If you sense danger or discomfort, don’t hesitate to remove yourself from the situation and seek assistance if necessary.

Alcohol can sometimes lead to heightened emotions and conflicts. It’s essential to avoid unnecessary arguments or confrontations, as these situations can escalate quickly and compromise your safety.

Familiarize yourself with the emergency exits and escape routes. In the event of an emergency, knowing how to exit the establishment quickly and safely can be crucial.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Michael Kurcina

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for an agency within the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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