Does news media effect your wanderlusting spirit?

For every travel destination, there is always someone with an opinion about why you shouldn't go there. One person will say "I would travel pretty much anywhere, but never India." while another person says, "I could go pretty much anywhere but never Mexico." For a long time Colombia was the place I figured I'd never go. I'm writing this article from Cali, Colombia, feeling perfectly fine about being here, though practicing a bit more caution than I might normally. The reason I never wanted to go to Colombia, and the reason many people have "no-go" countries on their list, is… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | September 11, 2014
Category: Travel News, Travel Safety

Are you afraid to travel?

Aren’t you afraid? In a word: No. It’s a question people ask us in lots of quiet ways. Aren’t you afraid of the political climates in less than first world places? No, but we’re aware of them. Of course they colour our travels. We make choices to go some places, and not others, based on political climates, but that doesn’t mean we’re afraid of them. We’ve been in Mexico, Guatemala, Indonesia and Australia during various elections. It’s an educational time to be in a place, there are discussions taking place that don’t otherwise. We’ve stayed with members of politically subversive… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (2)  | August 26, 2014
Category: On The Road, Travel Safety

Does travel ever scare you? 5 thoughts on finding security as a nomad.

About a week and a half ago my train pulled up to the platform in Tundla, India where a sea of Indian military men were waiting for it. There was a rush of commotion as we all pushed towards the doors- a commotion which only grew when we discovered all the doors were locked. The train sat there with its locked doors for 5 minutes while the military men grew angrier and angrier, beginning to bang on the doors with their fists, sticks, muskets, anything. I kept thinking that surely someone would open the door. We'd paid for tickets after… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | May 8, 2014
Category: Adventure Travel, Travel Health, Travel Safety

Theft Prevention: Why you should drag your backpack behind your bike

This week a friend of mine had her iPhone stolen in Antigua. It’s ignited another round of discussions in our traveling circles about theft on the road, how to avoid it and the various gear and gadgets marketed to minimize the likelihood of being burgled on the road. I would like to say two things about this: If you travel long enough, something’s going to get stolen. That’s just the way of it. If you adjust your mind to that from the beginning you won’t be surprised when it happens and maybe you’ll feel a little less violated as well.… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | April 2, 2013
Category: Travel Safety

Are “they” to be feared? Who are “they” anyway?

“I was driving down the road the other day and saw some cyclists ahead.  I braked and waited until I could get by safely, but I’m concerned about them – the other motorists who won’t do that.” “I saw a cyclist riding through my town last week, so I invited him over to my house for the night.  I took care of him, but they won’t.” “I stopped and gave some cyclists Gatorade on a hot day, but they wouldn’t even consider doing something like that.” I hear stuff like this all the time – isn’t it dangerous to bike… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | September 18, 2012
Category: Travel Safety

Reflections on Hitching a Ride in Asia

[caption id="attachment_16633" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Chinese police: serving the law and taking me for a ride - picture by Kit Yeng Chan, 2012"][/caption] Hitching a ride was, is and always will be evoking images of young, reckless, crazy travel. It is for adventurers, because you do not know who will pick you up and when you will arrive at your destination. And it is indeed for adventurous drivers too: our imagination is so full of hideous stories based on this phenomenon that, before you would pick up that random guy standing at the crossroad, you would definitely think twice. Luckily, this… Read More...

Common sense: the best thing to take with you

As independent travelers we discuss the best light weight gear or how to save pennies. But what about something that weights nothing and can’t be bought: common sense. Like, pavement is more slippery when wet. Rolling down the highway earlier today, I recalled a lesson my Grandfather taught my mother. “Drive five miles slower when it’s raining.” The charcoal sky began to pour and within moments even my windshield wipers--on high--did no good. Vehicles on all sides dropped from 70 to 40mph, and I decided to pull over and wait it out at a gas station. I got a cup… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (1)  | May 17, 2012
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind, On The Road, Travel Safety

How have you calibrated your risk/reward meter?

[caption id="attachment_15573" align="alignright" width="300" caption="I spent three years cycling from Alaska to Argentina with my husband and children. Our twin sons were ten years old when we left Alaska."][/caption] There was an interesting discussion on a cycling forum I visit from time to time. A man responded to a blog post I had written about cycling to the ends of the world with my children. “I just don't see how subjecting kids to this odyssey of self-discovery or whatever it was could possibly benefit them in the long run,” he wrote. “That's just irresponsible.” He went on to say, “I… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | May 15, 2012
Category: Travel Safety

Stay safe when partying abroad

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Backpackers tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos. Photo: Nick Hewson / Flickr"][/caption] When we're away from home, it's tempting to cut loose and forget our inhibitions.  A recent piece in The Guardian UK points out the dangers in partying: Vang Vieng, Laos: the world's most unlikely party town. The article explores how the small Lao town has blown up into a hotspot on the Southeast Asia backpacker trail.  While revenues and amenities have increased, safety measures have not.  The reporter warns of injuries sustained by backpackers who failed to take the proper care. "Tubing" is a popular… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (5)  | April 9, 2012
Category: Backpacking, Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel Health, Travel Safety

Questioning safety in Guatemala – at the last minute

Just three weeks before I’d planned to leave for Guatemala, the first country on my itinerary for my first long-term trip, a friend forwarded an email from her Guatemalan friend regarding my upcoming travels: “My advice is that if she has her heart set on going to Guate, do the volunteering thing and keep travel limited to Lake Atitlan and Antigua ... If her heart can be persuaded to go to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, I would highly recommend that … Guatemala is in a sort of state of war where human life is very poorly regarded and that is… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (6)  | February 1, 2012
Category: Central America, Female Travelers, General, Travel Safety