Travel toughness- Your GTG’s guide to growing a pair

Welcome again globetrotters and thanks for joining us when we all know it’s still Saint Patrick’s day somewhere (for all you mobile leprechauns). This week, running with a current Katy Perry-inspired theme of celebrating your strengths, I would like to give credit to each and every globetrotter for the inherent bravery travel requires and look in detail at this truth.

No matter where we are in the world, even hiding under our own bed covers won’t completely eliminate every possible aspect of danger we are exposed to. That said, it would be naïve to ignore the greater risks we place ourselves under by removing a large portion of the safety net we would often have taken for granted. At this very moment I sit here at a café outdoors with my laptop pc, my handbag on a chair to my right and my IPhone 4s to my left with reckless abandon of the thought that any of it may be taken from me. This in itself is a perfect example of the safety net the familiar provides.

When considering the risks specific to travel, some (perhaps slightly dramatized…) suggestions include:

  • Theft– Two particular factors put travellers at greater risk of theft, one- that often travellers visit less wealthier countries than their own and two- that travel in general is a financial luxury which signals travelers as the wealthy (or those that have chosen to allocate their finances this way) even among their own country folk.
  • Health emergencies– The difference away from home is that a traveller is not likely to be intimately aware of the health practices/services which can render a situation critical that at home may be managed through standard procedure.
  • Abduction– This in a way could be seen an extension of the risk of theft. Abduction, it would seem, is most commonly an opportunity to further extort funds from sources such as a person’s embassy/consulate or loved ones.
  • Cash flow– In another country where you may be paying for accommodation and certainly food on a daily basis, running out of cash becomes a much more immediate problem than at home when you may have rent covered till the end of the month or be eligible for government assistance of some sort.
  • legal trouble– This risk stems from the idea that legally acceptable behavior can and does change dramatically from place to place and a visitor may not be aware of all the ways in which this is so.
  • Identity fraud– This is a risk based on the concept that some countries hold a citizenship that may be highly sought after and equally difficult to obtain legitimately. Regular underworld activity requires the free movement of its members and is complimented in tourist spots by a large number of nationalities in the one place.

To return to our less pessimistic focus, this is precisely what travellers should be proud of, and for many of you none of these facts will come as a nasty surprise. These risks are partly the source of travel’s exhilaration and for some globetrotters risk has been the strongest motivation to leave home in the first place. The moral of this week’s story is that with travel there is real risk which should also be recognised as real achievement once overcome. Of course a little luck never goes astray. Till next week.