Article – Paul Gioffi Well Weathered Edition 6Michelle @ ISR2018-03-27T11:58:46-07:00
Travel Survival Notes & Other Curious Observations
Monthly Travel Column by Paul W. Gioffi
Disclaimer: While travel can be exciting and rewarding there are unforeseen dangers that may arise. The Information presented in Paul’s articles is the author’s personal opinion and what may have worked for him yesterday may not work for someone else today or tomorrow. Therefore, you agree to use any and all information provided by the author at your own risk and agree that you will hold the author and ISR harmless in regard to any and all instances that may arise or result from use of this material.
Following, you’ll find travel tips number 17, 18, and 19 from Paul W. Gioffi. To read the introduction to this column which began in February of 2006 please see Edition 1. To access other previous editions please see the Index.
Entry 17: Life in Hand
The concept of predestination states that regardless of what humans do, no matter how pious and righteous we are, or how diabolical and sinister our practices become, it does not matter. Our fates have been previously decided by someone, or something, and our destinations in the afterlife (should there be one) have already been reserved. Others believe that the future of our souls, or spiritual embodiments, is not set. Perhaps free will grants us the ability to shape our own daily lives which, in turn, determines our tomorrows. Something deep down inside still tells me to look both ways before I cross the street. I don’t believe I can be too flippant about many things, particularly when traveling in unfamiliar places or when contending with things that I have little control over. If in accordance, then it’s best to triple check things so as not to put your life and the lives of others in jeopardy. How safe is the neighborhood you’re in and what is the possibility for confrontation, given you are the stranger? What time of day is best for strolling, and with whom? Do you really know the people you’re sharing a hostel room with? What exactly are you eating and where did it come from? Sometimes it’s nice to kick back and let someone else do the driving but to what length will you put your life in that person’s hands? Poorly maintained vehicles, single lane roads along cliff edges, drunkenness, and inappropriate bravado. Sometimes the potential for disaster is overwhelming and we don’t even realize it. Travel, enjoy life, take risks, move forward -but ask lots of questions along the way. Stay sharp. If something inside you says ‘danger,’ then there probably is.
Entry 18: Finish the Game
Three weather-beaten travelers converge at a lonesome crossroads where they are suddenly confronted by death, personified. The entity holds the three men at bay and engages them in a sinister dialogue. It tells them that the end of the world has finally arrived and there are only a few days left before all beings meet their fates. Death continues by asking the three what they hope to do in their final days of this earthly estate. The first traveler says ‘I will go into town and take three whores, and enjoy my final hours.’ The second traveler says, ‘I will go to the mission and pray, for the salvation of my soul.’ The third traveler says, ‘I will finish the game, I will finish the game.’ Many of us set out upon a task or a journey with the best intentions. It is disappointing when we become discouraged and falter from its completion. Humans are the only creatures who consistently fail to live up to their full potentials. If you begin something, and the endeavor was worth the time to start, then be sure to finish it. Many travelers are put off by delays, anxieties and pressures, unexpected changes, inconvenient setbacks and the like. Some will tell you that the goal is not nearly as important as the journey itself. There’s truth to that, but there’s also truth to progress, growth and transcendence through your accomplishments. Keep your eyes on the prize. Flexibility and adjustments along the way are fine. Stay the course and finish the game well.
Entry 19: When to Sweat the Small Stuff
Sometimes, the little things can make a difference. For example, pick up small phrase book and, at least, learn some basics of the country’s language. You’d be surprised how much friendlier the locals are when you can say a few words in their language. A compass is a good thing to have in both the backwoods of the Appalachian Mountains, USA, and the labyrinth-like streets of Katmandu, Nepal. Take a map with street, or trail, names in both your own language and the language of the place where you’re traveling. This will help you and a local read it together. Luckily, I found such a dual-language map at the airport upon arriving in Athens, Greece. Streets signs there vary; some are in English, some are in Greek while others are a hybrid. A business card of the place where you’re staying can help you and a taxi driver find your way back to your lodging. Other small stuff that I’ve found useful in my home country and overseas include an eye glasses repair kit, a whistle, a pocket utility knife (with corkscrew), band-aids/plasters, a telephone card and list of country and city prefix codes, safety pins, sunglasses, earplugs, extra shoelaces, flashlight, batteries, insect repellant, and a roll of toilet paper. Plastic Ziploc bags act as great water-resistant containers for the above.
I hope you have enjoyed this month’s edition of Well-Weathered Travel Survival Notes & Other Curious Observations. Check back next month for a new entry. Until then, safe travels. Contact me at Well_Weathered@yahoo.com