The Irony of Travel, the Conundrum of Curiosity…

001 (2)…is that you’re supposed to be having the time of your life, but at the same time, you’ll likely be exposed to many times more than the usual dangers encountered in normal every-day life. I just read a travel article in the New York Times which poses the question of what to do when you want to take a dip–in the ocean, or anywhere, for that matter. Where do you put your wallet? Where do you put your keys?

Most importantly: where do you put your passport… (Drum roll here, please) …and smart-phone? The author asked for suggestions and answers to this perennial riddle, albeit to no clear effect. Of course if you travel in a pack, then the answer is simple: have a designated driver, one person to oversee the goodies. But if you’re like me and travel alone, then what’s your best bet? Nothing is ever guaranteed, of course…

I’ve asked myself this same question many times, and the same dilemma would apply if you’re having sex with a local or tripping on the local psychedelics: how do you enjoy yourself and get value from your experience without worrying about your valuables all the time? If you have to forego experiences to guard your vabs (i.e. valuables, just made that up), then that’s not much fun… 

Suggestions range from burying a bag to hiding it all in a dirty diaper to flaunting a decoy bag for the likely thieves to take instead, or–what else? Over the course of some forty years of travel, here’s the best I’ve come up with: 1) break up your travel between long-term and short-term stays, so that you can be more creative and experimental in those long-stay situations, and more guarded in the short stays. The criteria for long-stay decisions would be directly related to the applicable questions of safety, trust and convenience.

2) Know the schedule of anyone who might ever have reason to be in your room, and know their personality, too. If they’re sketchy, then you probably shouldn’t stay long in the first place; 3) Leave your phone, passport, and major money back in the room. Leave your key at the desk, if possible. Carry only coins with you, and swim with them if necessary. Coins and keys can get wet and survive. A tiny little ‘boogie bag’ is good for hanging around your neck. Go out AFTER your chambermaid has done her thing. Lock a desk drawer.

FINALLY: Be careful! People do sh*t in Thailand and Mexico that they would never do at home, as though they’ve got some license to screw up, and a get-out-of-jail-free card to boot, drunk all the time and left to rot on the vine, waiting for someone to rescue them…

 

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