The world is a dangerous place. Travel is dangerous. Overseas travel is very dangerous.
I’ve been to more countries and more cities than most people ~ both on business and as part of my personal vacation time. From food poisoning in Paris, to being propositioned by a transexual hooker in Moscow, to being held up at gunpoint in Nassau, I’ve had my share of unpleasant excitement overseas.
Here is some of the soundest advice I can offer, which will hopefully reduce the dangers of travel to the far-flung parts of the world.
Avoid the Mosquito. There is a big chunk of the planet where this annoying little insect will wake you at night with its manic high-pitched buzzing. By the time you hear it the damn thing will already have tasted your blood. If you are mildly allergic to the mosquito you will get a blister where it’s bitten you. If you are bitten by the wrong mosquito it can be a lot worse than an unslightly blister. Much in the news is the Zika virus, which can shrink babies’ brains in the womb. This virus is now endemic in 24 countries, mostly in Central and South America. You know what? The Zika virus isn’t so bad, unless you’re a pregnant woman all you’ll get from Zika is a light fever. Much, much, nastier diseases spread by the mosquito include; a half-dozen types of encephalitis, dengue fever, malaria, black water fever, rift valley fever and yellow fever.
The map shows the areas in which the mosquito carries yellow fever, but one can be bitten by the damn insects anywhere from Italy to India. What I didn’t know is that one can get yellow fever and the Zika virus in California.
Avoid All Animals. Rabies is endemic in many parts of the world. Trust me, you do not want to get rabies. Don’t go near dogs anywhere, even a friend’s dog is not safe. Bats, cyotes, skunks and foxes also carry rabies. The most likely animal you will get rabies from is your local raccoon. Almost all wild animals can give you all kinds of deadly infections and most wild animals can kill you. Even supposedly ‘tame’ animals can easily kill you, especially a ‘tame’ elephant can kill you without even breaking sweat.
Avoid Africa. From Algeria to Zimbabwe all African countries are deadly dangerous. The whole continent should be avoided by anyone who does not actively seek stupid risks. You can suffer every sort of crime anywhere in Afrca from being ripped-off to being sexually assaulted, raped and / or murdered. There is terrorism, revolution and all-out wars going on across half of Africa. Africa is also filled with lethal wildlife and worse diseases.
Don’t Go To India. I’ve been to India, it’s backward and mostly lawless. Just do not even think about going there. India is a shocking place. ‘Foreign’ women are always in serious danger in India, even if they are accompanied by a man. If you go to India you will become very ill, sooner rather than later. Indian cities are as crowded as an ants’ nest, which is disturbing to Western eyes.
Be Careful Of Local Food and Water. If you do go to India or Africa you will get sick, probably from either drinking the local water or eating local food. In the third world even bottled water cannot be trusted, it could actually have come from a faucet in a dirty kitchen. ‘Delhi Belly’ isn’t a joke. Local street food may look interesting and fun, but a few days laid up vomiting and crapping your guts out is no fun at all. In the third world only eat at your hotel, and only drink light beer or gin and tonic ~ be wary of the ice…
Do Not Go Out Alone At Night. Especially if you are female, Do Not Go Out Alone At Night. This applies everywhere from London to Los Angeles. You may think you are a brave and independent feminist ~ in reality you are a potential victim, prey for criminally unscrupulous, violent, and sexually active males.
Do Not Have Casual Sex. Only bastards and sluts travel to have casual sex. Especially do not have sex with a local ~ sexually transmitted diseases are very unfunny. (You can easily contract Zika and several other parasitic and viral diseases from unprotected sex.) And, Never Ever Pay For Sex when you are overseas ~ excepting in Amsterdam. If you are a woman just don’t be a loose slut unless you want to suffer anything from forced marriage to murder. Sexually available and morally lax women and girls are asking for really serious grief in every part of the world. Acting like a tart will get you into trouble whether you are male or female.
Avoid Central and South America. From the United States / Mexican Border south to Cape Horn the whole of Central and South America is a violently dangerous, drugs ridden, shit-hole. You are in danger of robbery, rape, and murder anywhere in Central and South America. If you don’t speak fluent Spanish / Portuguese then forget it. If you do go there do not leave your hotel unescorted and do not get separated from your properly organised tour. All that is in addition to the danger of being bitten by some virulently infections bug or animal.
Do Not Get Drunk. Getting drunk in a place you don’t know is incredibly dangerous. If you get drunk you are at risk of everything from robbery to rape. Do not take illegal drugs, you may get arrested, or you may die. Also, do not gamble, do not lose your temper, and Never, Ever, argue with a uniformed official. Take notice of the advice given by the Foreign Office and State Department. Make damn certain you have all the appropriate documentation for the countries you are visiting. Make certain you have proper travel insurance. Make certain you have more than enough cash and credit on your plastic. Watch the news and don’t turn up in a country that’s just had a natural disaster. Make very certain you have had all the myriad of injections you need for whichever disease-ridden hell-hole you’re visiting.
The more adventurous and younger travellers may ignore some or all of this advice. In which case ~ Good Luck. Personally, and these days, I will only ever visit Western Europe and the various countries of the English Speaking World. I especially like California, where my favourite thing is to take a long road trip.