Reading for the Trip from Hell
The Must-Read Book for Travel Emergencies
through a trip across Italy a few summers ago, I would have gladly
my guide book for one slice of edible American pizza. But even the
hometown pie wouldn't be a fair trade for the newly published
Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel.
its helpful action plans for travel's misadventures, I've resolved
this book to my grave - a very real possibility if a person were to
into some of the scenarios described here.
all of them are life-threatening. One's life probably won't depend
a runaway camel. But
it's both comforting and smart to know what to
do when the chips are down, especially if you're in a strange place;
a tire in your own driveway is a snap, but try it during a mountain
blizzard when you're 100 miles from the nearest town.
what to do when things get interesting is the book's raison d'Ítre.
by a couple of freelance writers and world travelers out of
Philadelphia. It's a well-researched and compact manual for when Murphy's
Laws are the ground rules.
scenarios range from the truly helpful (finding water on a deserted
treating a severed limb) to the doubtful-but-good-to-know
a mine field; crash-landing an airplane) with just one or two
into the sublimely silly (really, UFO abductions?). In each case,
Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht drew upon one or more well-versed,
researchers, instructors and safari guides.
example: Want to know
how to build a snow shelter? Ask John Lindner, as Piven and Borgenicht
director of the Wilderness Survival School for the Colorado Mountain
and director of training for an organization that teaches mountain
skills to search-and-rescue teams and government agencies.
Scenario offers impressive sources and a quick, bullet-point
There's not enough information here to make anyone an expert in a
field - you probably don't want to get a tracheotomy from someone
just read it from the book - but plenty enough to thumb through if
needs some pointers on offering a bribe at the next border or jumping
moving train (to avoid the border?).
book, with its emergency-red cover and exciting scenarios, makes for
conversation starter, but is it a necessity for travelers? That depends.
If you're the kind of person who makes photocopies of important documents
and stashes them in a safe place before heading overseas, you'll likely
agree Worst-Case Scenario is a handy bit of preparation.
on the other hand, you're the kind of person who flies into Thailand without
any reservations, wanders its back alleys alone at night and drinks the
water, than Worst-Case Scenario should be required reading.
who agree that travel and adventure are worthwhile pursuits have to face
the possibility that something could go wrong. I consider myself a fairly
well-prepared traveler, but in one six-week period in Alaska one autumn
I happened upon a mother grizzly with cubs, hauled an injured hunter's
slain deer out of the woods and survived a shipwreck with friends in
a borrowed boat. The
unexpected happens, in Alaska's wilds or Rome's crowded streets.
and little emergencies are the spice that flavors travel. Given
that, reading Worst-Case Scenario Survival Guide: Travel just
like stashing a roll of duct tape in your backpack.
improbable as getting caught in a high-rise hotel fire may seem, Worst-Case
Scenario is the book I'd want on my night-stand if flames did break
this book at Barnes &