Posts Tagged ‘outdoor’

How to Pack When going to a War Zone?

Posted on: March 6th, 2011 | No Comments

Packing depends a lot on your expected length of travel, gender and personal preferences but it’s helpful to think in the layer system (discussed in a previous post) and climate throughout the trip (not just at the destination).  It’s often cold in deserts and sunny in cold places, there could be a pool at your overnight stay while in transit and then there’s that unplanned requirement to sleep in the airport (here’s a worthwhile link to consider).  All these should be considered on one trip. 

Almost universally, things that stimulate the mind are carried by those traveling to Libya: books, MP3 players stuffed with music, laptops loaded with cheaply acquired movies and TV series.  But ballistic body armor is not: freelance stringers can’t afford it and aid workers are usually not that close to the fighting.  Besides vests and helmets are heavy, take up lots of luggage space and makes you stick out like a sore thumb.

So in most ways, packing to go to a war is no different than going to any place that is severely underdeveloped with a (possible) lack of electricity, clean drinking water, the presence of bugs and other annoyances that make travel more interesting. Even if conditions are fine today, what if the power suddenly goes out for three straight days?  A candle, matches and a flashlight that doesn’t need batteries would be great.  What if I need to wash my clothes in my hotel sink? I’d need a long cord to dry them.  What if my camera strap breaks, pack rips or jack tears at the elbow?  A bit of duct tape is essential.  This is what the Essential Journey’s Kit was made for and is included on my bag on the way to Libya.

World’s Most Dangerous Road?

Posted on: February 22nd, 2011 | No Comments

In between my recent travels, I flicked through the satellite television channels dealing with travel and adventure.  Filled with tall claims and well spun yarns, they provide fleeting entertainment.  One show gives the impression of dealing with the “world’s most dangerous road” judging by ice-filled roads.  Certainly, in this category there is a fairly long list of contenders.   For sure, the James Dalton Highway in Alaska 414-mile gravel road that connects Prudhoe Bay oilfields needs vigilance and preparation (including a 4-wheel drive, the right kit and extras of everything).  But is it the most dangerous?   

Bolivia’s North Yungas Road, connecting the capital La Paz to Coroico in the Amazon region, is itself known as the “Death Road.”  Fifteen years ago, the Inter-American Development Bank declared it the world’s most dangerous road because it killed 200-300 people a year along its almost 70 km length.  Today, new construction has meant that few travel along this route except for a few intrepid travelers looking for a challenge and the right to say they traveled it.  

The road leading from Baghdad International Airport toward the Green Zone (now the “International Zone”) was surely the most dangerous road in the world at one point.  This is where we lost Marla Ruzicka (see earlier post) and many others.  Although strict checkpoints, constant patrols and blast walls that line the entire length make the roughly 15 minute trip safer these days, it remains a potentially hairy ride.    

East of Kabul

From personal experience, the most dangerous roads lie in Afghanistan and Pakistan where altitude, long-distances, terrible conditions and ever present violence meet.  These days, roads like the one that link Kabul with Peshawar are surly the world’s most dangerous.  That road passes through the tribal areas of Pakistan where NATO fuel supplies were recently blown up, the Kyber Pass (notorious during the British Raj as a site of ambush and intrigue), through Jalalabad in sight of Tora Bora and the now dangerous Sarobi, up a spectacular gorge and into Kabul.  In that same valley, I was stopped several years ago by a rock avalanche that took the better half of a day to clear.   

Or take the road leading north from Islamabad on route N75 to the hill station town of Murree and then north again to Muzaffarabad.  It’s fine up to that point.  This area of Kashmir has been mostly off limits to foreigners except for a period following the 2005 earthquake that devastated the region.  About a year after the disaster, I traveled up the Neelam Valley Road along the “line of control” that demarcates the long, blood-soaked division between India.  As part of the Lesser Himalayas, it is at once beautiful in a way only matched by the likes of the Rockies and the Alps.  It is also hair-raising, crossing over crumbling dirt roads over 8,000 + foot passes with very few guardrails. And, in the time I was there, aftershocks and rock avalanches.  Along long stretches, the road is well within the crosshairs of Indian gun positions on the other side of the valley.  While calm during my visit, our driver plainly said at one point “My brother was killed along here.”

What is “Adventure” Travel?

Posted on: January 6th, 2011 | No Comments

“The word adventure has gotten over used.  For me, adventure is when everything goes wrong.  That’s when the adventure starts” – Yvon Chouinard in 180° South: Conquerors of the Useless (great movie, btw).    

This quote nicely sums up our attitude at Neverest.  It’s the idea that travel is about the journey, not the destination.  It’s the notion that things always will go wrong but that’s where the real challenge as well as the fun and learning begin.  It’s about being prepared, mentally as well as physically (this why we call our great product the Essential Journey’s Kit, not just another “adventure kit”).

Haiti: The last thing they need

Posted on: November 18th, 2010 | No Comments

Haiti, to understate the situation, has had a tough year.  Last January, a devastating earthquake took more than two hundred thousand lives and the affects continue to cause widespread suffering.  Tropical storms including Hurricane Tomas ripped down makeshift shelters.  And election-related violence has become a daily occurrence.  Now, a deadly cholera epidemic has taken hold of the heart of the country.  It’s the last thing the people of Haiti deserve.  Already hundreds have been killed and thousands have been hospitalized.  The suffering from the disease is terrible.  It’s caused by a small bacteria (shown here) that is relatively easy to prevent.  But too many people lack clean potable water and other basic supplies like soap.  Most unfortunately is that the situation will get worse before it gets better.

Great Travel Quote

Posted on: November 17th, 2010 | No Comments

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

Top 7 Reasons to Enjoy Autumn

Posted on: November 4th, 2010 | No Comments
  1. Renewed sporting opportunities: Weekends are filled with the best of baseball, hunting, fishing and, of course, football, speaking of which…
  2. Sports and tailgate parties: The more friends the better
  3. Being outside as the leaves change color: Each week is different and vibrant until they’re gone
  4. The new seasonal brews: It’s starts with the Oktoberfest verities and continues to the darker stouts around the holidays, speaking of which…
  5. Holidays, even while overseas: One of the best Halloween parties I attended was in Albania and one my most memorable Thanksgivings was with a Japanese family in London.
  6. Winter travel planning: Whether your destination is warm or cold, one of the most fun things to do is planning and preparing for the next trip.
  7. Hauling out, repairing and replacing cold weather camping and travel gear.

Travel Tip: Go with the Light

Posted on: October 26th, 2010 | No Comments

Flashlights are turning up in everything these days so it is always a good idea to have something that provides light.  Power outages are so common in many countries that it is always a good idea to have one handy if you’re going to an area with little or no electricity.  Neverest’s Essential Journey’s Kit contains a hand-powered flashlight, no batteries needed, so you’ll always be ready.

Travel Tip: Go Light

Posted on: July 28th, 2010 | No Comments

Flashlights are turning up in everything these days so it is always a good idea to have something that provides light.  Power outages are so common in many countries that it is always a good idea to have one handy if you’re going to an area with little or no electricity.  Neverest’s Essential Journey’s Kit contains a hand-powered flashlight, no batteries needed, so you’ll always be ready.

Great Travel Quote

Posted on: July 22nd, 2010 | No Comments

“Adventure is a path.  Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world.  The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it.  Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness.  In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both.  This will change you.  Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

Staying healthy while traveling

Posted on: June 20th, 2010 | No Comments

In Somalia, acute watery diarrhea (AWD), which includes diseases such as cholera, regularly hospitalizes and kills people. According to the UN, a whopping 72% of children are affected by AWD. This is a direct result of the decades of fighting and lack of clean water. Half of the entire population is in need of life-saving assistance.    

When I travel in places like this, prevention is key. Washing hands and drinking water from known sources is the easiest and best thing to do. True, food can also make you sick but that’s usually less of a concern than most people worry about (for example, any meat is fine as long as it’s cooked through). That’s why Neveret’s Essential Journey’s Kit includes things to keep clean (especially your hands) rather than tablets that will block you up after the fact.