THE LONE TRAVELER
I have three questions this morning:
1) Should a person (my son) travel abroad alone?
2) And if they do, should they provide an itinerary to family?
3) Am I a worry-wort?
My adult son is traveling alone in a foreign country. I've asked for an itinerary of where he plans to stay and what he'll visit. The hints I'm getting from my husband is that the answer to #3 is "yes."
Ignorance can mean danger if not death. There's a sharp curve in the highway in front of my brother's house in Fairview where at least two accidents have occurred in the last several years, one of them with a fatality. My point is that drivers on the Wagener Highway, which is usually straight as an arrow, will encounter this curve suddenly, and if you don't know the road, you're a candidate for an accident.
It's foolish to approach the unknown as if it is known, and a foreign country is unknown territory. Books on travel don't usually point out risky areas, gang territory, or antiAmerican neighborhoods.
THERE IS NO SURE LIFE. THERE IS SURE DEATH.
So if we want to be sure about anything, we can be sure that the day will come when we will die. Do we want increase our chances of dying?
We can do this in a number of ways:
—climb a mountain
—drive a car
—live on the south side of Chicago
—travel alone in Iran
My son is not in Iran, but a country that, by comparison, is "safe" for Americans. But is any lone traveler safe? Many things influence the odds affecting safety. Add one person as a companion and the safety meter improves.
Years ago a businessman boarded a plane in Florida for a trip to Colombia and was never heard from again. Why do I remember this? My husband was traveling for business at the time. This was somebody's husband. Businesses keep track of their traveling managers for several reasons, not least of which is for safety.
PLAYIING THE ODDS
It's a matter of making favorable odds for yourself. A mountain climber equips himself, chooses weather and circumstances that affect his chances of survival. The way people drive influences those chances. So does where you live.
As I write this, my husband is traveling alone in Illinois. It is a comfort to me to have the name of his motel and his daily plans. We talk on the phone every day. However, international travel with multiple time zones makes phone calls problematic. Alone in Illinois is not the same as alone in Latvia.
AM I A WORRY-WART?
Years ago in the 1930s, a cousin of my father disappeared without explanation, and he wasn't in a foreign country, unless you consider the backwoods of South Carolina foreign (you can make the argument). The name Luico Gantt has become legendary in our family. There was a rumor he was in Washington, DC, and a cousin in the military tried to find him. Even today, I have a sense of loss for this relative I never knew.
Is it unreasonable for me to want to keep track of a family member? By asking my son for an itinerary am I a pessimist, assuming the worst?