Travelers perhaps have more opportunities to run into adventures than anyone else, and are also more likely to find themselves in risky situations. But if they weren’t willing to take risks, they wouldn’t be travelers, right? We pride ourselves in taking charge of life and heading out into the unknown, ready to take any trouble that fall into our path by its horns. And the particular community of travelers who are likely to tread glaciers, or explore jungles on foot is constantly growing larger. And through all this, they take a lot for granted, in particular their own safety.
Forget travelling, safety is anyways not a big concern with us. We are willing to risk our lives even for the slightest of the causes. Triple-riding a scooter without helmets is a sight as common as people crossing roads with earphones plugged into their ears. Bad things always happen to others, don’t they? News Flash! They don’t. “मुसीबत कभी बता कर नहीं आती।“ बचपन से पढे हुए इन मुहावरों को हम कभी गम्भीरता से नहीं लेते।
Those of you who read Manu’s story yesterday would know why I am saying all this. It is important to know what can happen when those in charge consciously decide to disregard all security concerns. As a result, boats are constantly overloaded, bridges are not repaired. These issues only surface in retrospect, after a disaster has struck. The lesson that we should learn from this, as discussed in the comments and pointed out by Nandan and Sandeep, is that we need to have a zero-tolerance approach where security is concerned, at least in our “circle-of-influence”.
And then there are some skills that travelers could benefit from, irrespective of their gender – not only from security point of view but also to enjoy the travel to the fullest. But I will come back to this soon. Before that, here are the awards for this month:
The Featured story for the month of June 2012 is Paradise Regained by Sundar Shastry. Accompanied by vivid pictures and written with poise and grace, this beautifully structured travelogue about Kashmir makes you yearn for a trip to the valley and also restores your faith in the security situation in the convalescing State. If you haven’t planned for a trip yet, this story might make you pack your bags immediately. Click here to read the series if you haven’t read it already.
The Featured Author for the month of July 2012 is the straight-forward Silent Soul, also known as SS. His lucid tales about Iceland and from India have inspired many and his series घुमक्कड़ी – कुछ खट्टी – कुछ मीठी has earned him many admirers. This month, we will probably get a chance to know this elusive globetrotter better and perhaps to even get to know his name. Wait for his interview, which will be published on July 15th. Till then, click here to read all his posts.
There is this one particular trip that I remember clearly. It was a weekend outing to Corbett, and we were staying in one of the resorts on the banks of the beautiful River Kosi. The water wasn’t too high or cold and we ventured in. Some of my friends who knew how to swim were clearly having the time of their lives while I and the other non-swimmers had to contend ourselves with getting our feet wet and pretending that we didn’t feel like taking a plunge. If only I had learnt how to swim…
Swimming is anyways a good skill to have for everyone, especially for travelers. And younger you are when you learn it, the better. In fact, some of the skills that I am going to talk about in this editorial should probably be a part of our education system. Education doesn’t only need to be academic. Knowing how to survive is as important I would say!
All adult members of families who travel long distances by car should ideally know how to drive. This would not only take a little stress off from the driver, it would also prepare you better for any kind of emergencies. Moreover, driving is fun. And it gives you a sense of independence like nothing else does. And knowing how to fix a broken down vehicle, goes hand in hand with that. Imagine getting stuck on a moonless night, on a lonely highway with a broken-down car. Emergency response services aren’t so readily available everywhere.
With the current crime rate, it is also important to know how to defend yourself. Several government and private institutions, as well as the Police, organize self defence classes that we can join. Also, there are some cool devices available in the market. For example, the handy pepper spray that you can use to surprise the attackers (God forbid the situation should ever arise).
One should also know how to administer first aid. Because accidents can happen anywhere and if you do not know what not to do when someone is injured or ill, you can seriously mess up the situation. The Indian Red Cross Society and several other healthcare institutions provide training on first aid and CPR that anyone can enroll for. This training is very important especially if you go for trekking frequently.
If you are headed for snow-covered mountains or for scuba diving, it will be great if you can take time to learn about that particular environment and how to deal with medical conditions like hypothermia. Many disasters can be averted if we have the right knowledge.
Even though challenges are fun, it is only wise to make sure that you are prepared to handle any situation that may arise out of it. This will make your travel challenging yet fun. This is my list of must-have skills and I am working on this one skill at a time. What is your list? Do share with us so that we can all make our lists more complete.