From the Editor – Some Essential Skills for Travelers

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”.

Credit for the photo goes to http://www.travellingcamera.com


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.

42 Comments

  • vipin says:

    congrats

  • KANUPRIYA says:

    CONGRATS SILENTSOUL!

  • Neeraj Jat says:

    ???? ??, ?? ?????? ????????? ??? ???? ??, ??????? ?? ??????
    ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? if they werent willing to take risks, they wouldnt be travelers ??? ????? ??? ?? ??? ??????? ?? ??????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ???? ??????? ?? ???? ???? ?? ???? ???? ??, ????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ???????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ???? ??? ????? ?? ???? ???, ?? ??? ??? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ???, ?????? ???? ?? ????? ????? ???? ???, ?? ??????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???????? ??????? ????????? ?? ??? ???? ??????, ?????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ???? ??, ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ?? ????? ??, ??????? ?? ????? ??????
    ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? ?? ??? ???????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ???? ?????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??????? ????? ?? ????? ??????? ??? ????? ?? ??????? ????? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??????? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???, ???? ???? ???? ?? ???????? ??? ?? ???? ????? ?? ????? ???? ????? ???? ???? ?? ??? ?? ?? ???????? ?? ???? ?????? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ?????? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ??? ???????? ?? ???? ?? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ??? ????? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ??? ??? ???? ???? ????, ?? ?? ?? ?? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ???? ???, ????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ??-????? ??? ???? ??? ??? ??????? ???? ???????? ????? ?? ?? ????? ?? ????? ?? ?? ?? ????? ???? ??? ??, (??????? ???????? ??? ??, ?? ??? ??? ??? ??) ??? ?? ???????? ???? ?????? ?? ?? ??????? ?????, ????? ???? ????? ?? ????? ????? ??? ???????? ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ????? ??? ?? ??????? ??? ?? ???????? ???? ???????? ???? ?? ?? ????? ???
    ?? ???????? ???? ?? ????????? ??? ?? ???? ????? ???? ?????-???? ??????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ????????? ????? ?? ?? ??? ???????? ???????? ??????? ?? ??????? ????? ????? ??? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ???????? ???????? ?? ?? ???? ???? ??? ??? ?????? ???
    ????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ?????????!!

  • Neeraj Jat says:

    ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ???? ???, ?? ?? ??? ????
    ???????? ?? ??? ??? ????????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ??? ???? ??????? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ?????????? ???? ???? ????? ??????? ???? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ? ??? ????????? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ??? ???? ??? ?? ???? ??? ?? ?? ????? ???????? ??? ????? ???? ??? ????? ?? ?? ????? ?? ??? ???? ???, ????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ??? ?? ??? ????? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ????????? ?? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ???????

    • ???? ??? ?? ????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ???? ??? ………..??????? ???? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ………..??????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???????? ?????? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ??? ?? ???? ?? ?? ????? ???? ???? ???? ?? …………..LOL

      • Neeraj Jat says:

        ?????? ??, ??? ???? ??? ????? ?? ????? ?????????? ??? ????????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ???? ??? ??? ????? ?? ????? ?? ???, ?? ?????????? ?? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ???????? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???????? ???? ?? ??? ?? ??? ??? ???? ??????? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ?????? ??? ?? ??? ????? ?? ??????????? ??, ?? ??? ?? ?????? ??????? ???? ???? ????, ?? ??? ?????????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????? ???? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ?? ????
        ??? ?? ?? ????????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ???, ????? ???? ??? ???? ??? ????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ????? ?? ????? ?? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ??, ?????? ???? ?? ???? ???? ???? ???-???? ?????? ????? ???? ?? ???? ???? ??? ????? ???? ?? ?? ???

      • Neeraj Jat says:

        ????? ???, ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?? ????? ????? ????? ??? ?? ???? ?? ????? ?? ????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??????? ?? ??????? ???? ??, ?? ????? ??? ?? ???? ????? ?? ???? ?? ??? ????????? ??? ?? ?? ???? ???? ????? ?? ???? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ?????? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???

        • SilentSoul says:

          ??? ???? ?? ??? ?? ???? ???.. ???? ????? ?????? ?? ?? ( ?????? ?????? ??) ?? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???????.. ? ???? ???? ?? ????????? ?????? ????? ??? ????… ???? ???? ??????? ???????? ???? ?? ???-2…..LOL

          ?? ???? ??… ?? ??? ?? ???? ?? 10 ??????? ????? ??? ???? ??????? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ??… ???? ??.. ?? ???? ??????? ??? ??

    • Vibha says:

      ??????? ???? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ??? ?? ????????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ???????? ??? ?? ???? ???? ?????????

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Very nice writing thanks a lot for safety concern.

    Congratulations to Mr. Sundar Shastry for Featured story for the month
    “Paradise Regained”.

    Congratulations to Mr. SS, featured Author for the month of July 2012 . As he written all time hit Khatti Mitthi or Desi sign board for Chilled Beer.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Congratulations Sundar, one of the very beautiful posts and as Vibha says, written with grace and poise. Enjoy.

    Congrats SS. It is a humbling experience for Ghumakkar to have authors like you. Look fwd to the conversation and the interview later this month.

    Coming back to skills, I guess by having someone else know driving for a long distance trip is a great psychological boost as well, it acts as the medicine-kit you carry and usually never need, it gives you a lot of assurance. I would also suggest that one can carry this car-battery-powered-pump, it is a small device (6 inches by 4 inches, 3 inches thick) which can help you in case your car’s tyre go flat. It is a great boon, since it would pump enough air to help you drive to next petrol pump or point of help.

    Swimming is a great thing to know but when in open (lakes, rivers, ocean etc) be extra conservative. I love taking in dip in the tals of Kumaon (which Sandeep is covering these days, read his stories) but always keep myself in check. He he. One other thing is that a good swimmer doesn’t necessarily be a good saver. So do not attempt to save someone in deep waters if you have not been trained. I know it sounds very bad but trust me on this. If in worse case, you are the only one there then try to steer out of the grip of the victim (if she/he grips you, you are gone) and pull from the hair and aim for shallow waters (which may not always be towards the banks, having local knowledge of tal greatly helps, rem’br it has a rocky base). Again, I do not deserve to give any advice here and I am just sharing what I know.

    CPR is easy to learn so try to find out an avenue where you can learn. I have gone through the training but no practice so don’t know what happens in real situation

    Apart from what Vibha mentioned, some basic cooking skills (includes grocery buying) would be a great help. Thanks.

    • Vibha says:

      Thanks for the comment Nandan, especially for your advice about trying to save people. I agree with you. Knowing swimming is important because that way you can at least save yourself and that would mean that there will be one person less to worry about for those who are trained to save others.

      And I agree with you that some basic cooking skills are important. I hope everyone can at least cook to save their lives.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    @ Silent Soul ji,
    Please receive my heartiest congratulation for getting selected for the honor of Featured author of the month. I was eagerly waiting for this day to come and finally the day came, now waiting for the interview.

    @ Sundar Shastry,
    Many congratulations for being chosen as featured story…………….Really the “Paradise Regained” deserves this honor.

    @ Vibha,
    Thanks for these wise and nice selections.

    • SilentSoul says:

      ????? ???…?? ????? ??? ??? ????? ?? ???… ???? ?? ???? ????? ??? ???? ???? ?? ?? ?? ?????? ???.

      ???? ??? ??????? ?? ???? ????-2 ???????

  • Prakash Yadav says:

    I’m agreed wth Neeraj’s point. If we’ve time we can learn this survival
    ‘s thru the Series Man Vs Wild by Bear Grylls in Discovery Channel. many Tips shown there for the Travellers..

  • Kavita Bhalse says:

    ??????? ??? ??,
    ??? ?? ??????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?? ??????? ??????????. ?? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ??, ?? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????? ??. ??????????? ?? ?????? ???………………..????? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ????.
    ” ?????? ?? ?????????????” ?? ??? ?? ??????? ????? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ???????? ?? ?? ???? ???? ????, ?? ????? ??? ???????????????? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ???? ?? ???????.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Congratulations Sunder & SS !

  • SilentSoul says:

    @Vipin, Kanu, Neeraj, Manu, Nandan, Kavitaji and Mahesh Semwal thanks to all of you and tks to editors for this selection.

    Vibhaji you have touched a very important subject….and I think you should have written a full article on this subject, like in “Insights”…

    All the skills are very important for a Ghumakkars… and I keep Security on top. Most of the people do not keep security in their list and just to show off or just laugh they comprise security and sometimes get into serious or fatal troubles.

    I have travelled a lot and seen so many foolish things being done by tourists, which actually endanger their or others’ life. I will give one example… we were in Renuka Lake. There is a zoo where lions are kept in open and we can see them in a jeep. One lion was sitting near the gate and people were standing near the gate and watching him.

    One person took his 2 years boy up and started showing him to lion…he would pose like giving the child to lion and would say – come lion eat this baby and the boy would cry… all idiots around were laughing. Suddenly the zookeepers appeared and took the lion away and close the gate. Zookeeper gave a left and right to that man and told him – the way you were doing, was an indication to lion to eat meat…and he was about the pounce… luckily we noticed and saved your child.

    I have seen such idiotic behaviour so many times that a Khatti Meethi can be prepared on this…LOL

    so editors may consider a separate Insight… into this aspect

    Thanks again all Ghumakkar family

    • Vibha says:

      I agree SS. A much more detailed post is needed. This topic can be taken up by any author for writing an Insight article. Let me or Nandan know if you wish to write one.

      The incident of the Lion and the foolish man is a classic example. I wonder how a parent can do this to his child…It just upsets me so much!

  • Congrats SS and Sunder too. Sorry for late coming on the post of editor’s desk.
    SS ji, this evening I am going to celebrate it with crackers not only for Featured Author but also to congrat the jury (who fulfilled the requisiticity of a good balance in their hand with the hope of proper weighment in future also).

    Congrats again to SS ji.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Congratulations to SS and Sunder for winning the accolades for the month of July. I am sure that this recognition will act as an incentive to the award-winners to come up with many more equally delightful posts in the future.

    Thank you, Vibha, for highlighting the need for having a zero-tolerance attitude towards safety in your last editorial. Your knowledgeable and insightful editorials have always been a pleasure to read. We will definitely miss you as an Editor but I am sure that you will keep contributing to ghumakkar on a regular basis.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ DL – Vibha is continuing as an Editor as before. Probably the cause of confusion could be because of the message in the mailer, which would be now done by Archana.

    The editor, i.e. Vibha, is not going anywhere.

    • Vibha says:

      Hey DL, thanks for dropping by.

      Yeah, I’m not leaving…the Editorial team has just got bigger. :) You’ll have to endure many more editorials from me. LOL…

  • SilentSoul says:

    Tks DL & Tridev for the wishes

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    @vibha ji…… Thanks for very good topic & post. If we follow right rule in our life than we will always safe.

    @ S.S.ji……. I am very happy to know that you are the feature author of ghummakar.com for jun. Congratulation !

    @sundar….. Congratulation!

    • Vibha says:

      Thanks Ritesh Ji, you are right, but unfortunately it seems that our own safety isn’t a priority for us. We need to change our attitudes.

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Vibha, very good description and safety really important at home and outside.
    Congratulation SS ji and Sunder ji.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi SSSSs,

    Congrats to both of you.

    SS (Silent Soul) Have been enjoying your stories from across the world, while not forgetting the Indian travels. A deserving accolade.

    SS (Sundar Shasrty) your wonderful posts on wandering and pandering (not to forget those great pics) have been valuable additions to Ghumakkar.

    Hope you go writing more and more valuable travelogues.

    @ Vibha/Nandan, Thanks for the relevant info on desirable skill-set for a traveller. I feel that any site (or discussion) on travel inevitably involves two additional aspects viz, driving and photography. Info on these issues, as add-ons to the main site would be a welcome thing.

    Thanks.

  • Roopesh says:

    My take on the subject is little philosophical. One should respect the thing which challenges you and not try to beat it. A trekker should respect the mountains, a swimmer the waters, a driver the road & the vehicle however easy they may be. Respect brings humility which takes the burden of over smarting it leading to lesser risk, lesser scope of mistake and enjoyable experience.

    • Vibha says:

      True Roopesh! Humility is a trait that can solve a lot of issues in our everyday lives as well. Road-rage occurs because of lack of it, clashes at home also stem from the same source.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Dear Ghumakkars,

    Since we are talking of safety, here is a horryfying statistic: 4,000 commuters die every year in Mumbai’s local trains! Things are getting progressively worse and nobody seems to be bothered. Here’s an article written by Meera Sanyal, CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland. Please read it. Thanks.

    http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?281466

  • SilentSoul says:

    tk Ritehs,Surinder,Aurojit !

    DL I am thinking of writing a Khatti meethi on security related incidents like of lion i mentioned above… and you may right an insight into this aspect.

    howzzdat?

  • Very helpful editorial Vibha. I would like to add something on first aid. Now a days most of us carry a smartphone, so it would be nice to install First Aid application from Red Cross on our mobiles. This is very good application and can be downloaded from http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/First-aid/Mobile-app.

  • Hi Vibha,

    Firstly, let me thank you for writing this post. Travelling is good only if we learn and become better; whether we learn basic skills, life-saving skills or pick up mannerisms and learn to respect the world-view. As much as it is useful to be well-read, well-travelled, it is equally imperative for us to be civic-concious. A good traveller never breaks the rules; in fact, s/he strictly abides by them – whether it is about driving a vehicle or responsibly using public transport and civic-amenities.

    Most of the stories that I have read on Ghumakkar amply demonstrate the want of civic-consciousness all around us, whether in India or the world. Some societies are indeed better in this regard and it is heartening to read about the learning our Ghumakkars pick and share. Some of the guidance provided in comments above can be really useful.

    I am sure, all Ghumakkars travel with all passion they have and amply demonstrate the role-model behavior of a true-blue traveler.

    Regards,

    RRG

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