There’s a saying, usually attributed to master trainer John Farnam, about staying safe: “don’t go to stupid places, hang around with stupid people, or do stupid things.” That’s valid at home, but even more so when traveling!
Everyone has a different reason for traveling: for some, it’s to see new sights; for others, it’s to see old friends and family; for others, it’s to get some business done. In all cases, we want to come home in one piece, possessions (and credit ratings!) intact. Sometimes, though, we make that difficult because we tend to do things that we wouldn’t in our hometowns.
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is too often the modus operandi of the traveler, and as a result we tend to let ourselves go without much thought as to the aftermath. At home you probably wouldn’t accept a ride from a stranger, or leave the bar with people you don’t know, or put up with your substance-abusing cousin’s friends. Away from home, though, too many people do just that!
This is really part of the planning topic I touched on at the start of this series, but in slightly different form. You need to decide, ahead of departure, what you will and will not tolerate from friends and even family. When they start acting stupid, it’s time for you to either reign them in or get away from them.
The issue, of course, is that we tend to rely on friends or relatives to get around in strange places, and so we stick with them as things go south because we’re afraid to get stranded somewhere without the knowledge to get back to where we started. Having you cell phone charged, and perhaps programmed with a local cab company, can be a great way to facilitate your rapid departure from a bad scene.
Doing your research ahead of time will tell you where the stupid places are at your destination. Of course dive bars and seedy late-night restaurants are generally bad choices no matter where you are, but there are other types of stupid places to avoid which vary from location to location. Finding out what those stupid places are before you go may allow you to avoid bad situations altogether.
Of course doing stupid things should go without saying, but particularly overseas may not be clear-cut. Knowing, for instance, which hand gestures are considered inflammatory might be a good way to keep from getting beaten up, and those gestures vary wildly from culture to culture. What’s benign here might get your nose broken (or worse) somewhere else! Finding out ahead of time what’s stupid, and then not doing those stupid things, is a good method to avoid a lot of needless conflict (not to mention emergency room bills!)
Think it through before you leave: who are the stupid people? Where are the stupid places? What are the stupid things? Avoid all three, just like you would at home, but recognize that what you would avoid at home may not be the same as what you need to avoid away from home.
The difference is who, what, and where those things are!
-=[ Grant ]=-