Before you go abroad the first, second, or umpteenth time, you should always find a good legit company to join. Your safety is very important especially if you are somewhere you have never been. If the foreigners in that country sense fear or know that you are a stranger (especially an American), you may be vulnerable to human predators. The company can be a tourism business, romance/dating/marriage agency (e.g. Dream Connections), or anything else as long as you can find enough information online. Search for customer reviews, certificates, Paypal as a payment method, accreditation/certification logos, pictures, videos, etc. Get in touch with the people from the international company of your choice. If you go to a foreign country just to meet and accompany one person who lives there, still investigate and contact him or her. As a result, you would feel safer, more comfortable, and less scared.
If you go abroad solo or accompanied with person(s) you have not investigated/contacted, these possibilities may happen to you:
Again, find, connect, and learn as much information about the country you visit, the international company you join, the foreign people you meet, etc. before going overseas. You would have a mind of ease and peace. You would make smarter decisions. You can tell your family and friends so that they would not freak out and try to discourage you. You would be accompanied and protected by the right person(s) like I did with my former translator/guide and current friend Erika in Barranquilla, Colombia.