Travel Tips: Preparedness and Piranhas in Peru


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This piranha attempted to take Living Ready contributor Vince Zandri's finger off. Before going to any unfamiliar destination, be it international or domestic, do your research on the people, current events and wildlife (for starters). It will help you be better prepared should the worst happen far from home.

Vincent Zandri is a globe-hopping journalist, author and Living Ready contributor who recently took a trip into the Amazon wilderness of Peru. It put to practice the safe travel tips he outlines in his article in the Summer 2013 issue of Living Ready magazine and the in-depth travel preparedness Online Course he presented.

Travel Tips: No Watches? No Clocks? No Problem

We talk a lot at Living Ready about what to do when essential services go away. But as Zandri pointed out, there are plenty of people in the world who wouldn’t know what they’re missing anyway. And they seem perfectly happy.

From Zandri’s notes to Living Ready:

“The people here don’t have clocks. They don’t have watches, they don’t have smartphones, and they don’t have internet (as far as I can tell). They don’t have any kind of device that chimes, rings, chirps, vibrates, or belts out the opening bars to some Lady Gaga song stuffed into their pockets.

“They don’t need to be reminded of the time. Like one of my travel partners tells me, ‘In Russia, we have a saying: those who are happy do not need to know what time it is.’ Such is the case when it comes to the Peruvian people who occupy Llachon.”

That perspective is shared by many throughout the world. In addition to being a travel tip for making a mental adjustment, it’s food for thought when making preparedness plans in the United States. No matter how bad it gets, chances are good you’ll be OK. All it takes is shifting a comfort zone.

Travel tips: An Injury Overseas? Yeah, That’s a Problem

In his Online Course, Zandri talks extensively about being prepared for health emergencies while traveling. But being prepared doesn’t mean fate won’t strike.

Zandri sent Living Ready these thoughts after returning from the trip.

“I went straight to the surgeon from the airport only to learn that I snapped a tendon in my right foot during the many hikes through Peru’s mountainous jungle. I need an operation that will lay me up for two months.”

That’s two months in an American hospital. Sometimes, it’s better to wait to get medical attention – if you can bear it. Bad treatment can be worse than no treatment at all.

For domestic preparedness, this brings to mind triage skills. Learn what’s important to treat now, in a little while or not at all. That prioritization will make better use of limited resources. Living Ready will have an Online Course soon on simple ways to apply medical techniques in survival situations.