The other day, I combed through my bookcase in search of something to read and came across a book I picked up in a Delaware bookstore. The book is called The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: TRAVEL by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht. This book was part of a series that came out about a decade or so ago.
It was great fun revisiting this book. It’s hilarious, although there is an element of seriousness to it. The authors consulted highly trained professionals for their advice about how to act in times of danger, but they pointed out that common sense and good judgment are always your best guides for surviving dangerous situations.
Some of the book deals with situations I’ll probably never encounter. For example, I don’t think there are too many runaway camels to be found on the Beltway or that I’ll be abducted by aliens (I wonder which professional they consulted for that one!). I also doubt the Potomac River hosts many piranhas, so I won’t need the tips about how to swim across a piranha-infested river.
Another part of the book is about situations I hope never to encounter. It’s nice to know that if I have to stop a runaway Metro train, deal with captors, survive in frigid water, jump over a waterfall, get through a volcanic eruption or fight my way out of a car trunk, I’m all set.
But the remainder of the book is interesting for a traveler like me, which is the main reason I bought the book. There are strategies for packing a suitcase, marking your luggage so that it can be identified easily, beating jet lag and staying safe while traveling. There’s even a list of emergency phrases in four languages (Spanish, French, German and Japanese) as well as gestures to avoid in other countries. Staring at someone, for instance, is considered rude in Zimbabwe and making the “okay” sign by bringing the thumb and first finger together insults people in other countries.
I’m thinking that maybe the authors of this guide should probably do another book for surviving the suburban jungle. It could contain tips on driving in metro traffic (strategy: take the back roads whenever possible), finding a seat on the subway train during rush hours (take the seat quick when you find it), dealing with the two major weather seasons (around here, they’re called “winter mix” and “road construction”) and so on. Hey, you never know…it could be a bestseller! *giggles*
A question, blog readers: What is the best survival tip you’ve ever given to or received from a traveler?