There are times when I consider myself the luckiest accident-prone person. In all my travels overseas, I’ve never had any major accidents or incidents (yet) considering how I flirt with danger sometimes.
I just like to hop on a good adventure whenever I get the chance, and I try not to let the fear of possibly getting into an accident or injury get in the way of fun.
And for some serendipitous reason, something always occurs whenever I’m about to travel overseas. Take that photo above for example, I call it a double whammy. I got into a dragon boat accident which slashed the skin off the back of my thigh. The next day, I flew a microlight (previously scheduled), and a few weeks after, flew to Los Angeles and Mexico.
Well not to mention that as I type this, I’m wearing a moon boot on my left leg from last weekend’s incident, and here I am also getting ready to leave overseas in 12 hours.
And this has now got me thinking of the top adventurous things we ever got to.
Starting with the most dangerous one:
BAD FOOD BINGE IN VEGAS
While most people spend endless hours in casinos and shows, I spent an enormously, unhealthy amount of time in the eat-all-you-can alaskan crab legs table. Followed of course, by a huge serving of dessert in Serendipity Cafe. I figured, while in the US, eat all the delicious bad food as we normally eat clean (or try to) in Australia anyway.
Do you want to know what happened right after this food fest? The back of my neck started to throb. My joints (elbows and shoulders) felt like they were petrified. I couldn’t move them at all. The pain was so bad that I stayed at the hotel room the rest of our time in Vegas.
I was so scared because you do not want this kind of thing happening in the United States , where you must have medical insurance should things go wrong.
When we got to Los Angeles, I went to a pharmacy (drugstore) and told the pharmacist of my symptoms. She only asked one question to know what was going on, “Did you eat something in the last 24 hours that’s not normally part of your diet?”
When I confessed what I’d been up to, she said, “What you’re having is a very mild symptom of GOUT. Stop whatever it is that you’re doing and eat healthy!”
Yes, I deserved being reprimanded and after 24 hours, the pain went away (when toxins have been flushed out of my system) and I never went back to eating that way again!
SWIMMING WITH SHARKS
One of my most memorable underwater adventures were in Bora-Bora where we swam in the open water with black tip sharks. They may be reef sharks, but you must know how to behave around sharks. I admire them from a safe distance, pretending to be uninterested but deep inside full of marvel at these magnificent creatures.
One guy from a different boat tour though, was too eager for his own safety. While the sharks act very apathetic around you, they do want a safe distance. This guy pulled the tail of one of the sharks and the shark’s reaction was to quickly turn and bite. He managed to quickly pull his hand away but not without the shark’s teeth grazing his fingers. The thought of this still makes me shudder!
We also recently went scuba diving in the Maldives, and encountered a tiger shark. Our group kind of froze. Tiger sharks are one of the “Big Three” – top 3 dangerous shark species (1st is White, 2nd Tiger, then 3rd Bull sharks). However it just swam past us. It was hard to miss that shark , being close to 3 metres long.
CLIMBING A GLACIER IN ICELAND (with a cold)
What made this activity extra dangerous was the fact that I was nursing a cold while doing this. I think I was loaded with Sudafed that I was feeling both drowsy and exhilarated — if that is at all possible!
Ice climbing isn’t as easy as it looks (or sounds). I initially thought it would be just like rock climbing. It’s far from that! You need to have both coordination and strength – your arms need to be strong enough to aim for, and stab at the ice using an ice axe. This stab must be deep and stable enough for you to either hoist or carry your body weight upwards, while the feet , using the crampons, need to find a deep enough traction in the ice to climb.
I didn’t postpone this because we had activities planned out back to back on a full itinerary, and postponing will have a domino effect on all others.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and while no incidents happened at all, I wouldn’t suggest pushing through an adventure activity when you are unwell.
BEING STRANDED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEA IN THE PHILIPPINES
I have to say that among all the close calls we’ve had, this was when I really started to fear for our safety. We were visiting Caramoan, one of the most beautiful waters you could ever free-dive in. Unfortunately, this area is also known for its unstable weather. We reached the end of our trip and were heading back to Manila. This required a 2 hour boat ride from the island we were staying at to the airport. In the middle of the ride, heavy storm kicked in and the rickety wooden boat we were at hit a rock.
We were stranded for a good 40 minutes. The scary part was when another wooden boat tried to “rescue” us. A rope was tied between the two boats, and the other boat pulled us in a wrong angle and we almost tipped over.
We eventually made it to the airport but this incident has definitely left me shaken and I’m now more stringent about the safety standards of whatever mode of transport we get into when travelling.
HOW I MANAGE TO STAY SAFE WHILE TRAVELLING
Many are surprised that we haven’t really had any major incidents while on the road. Knock on wood : no broken bones, stolen or missing bags, food poisoning, etc.
There really is no secret to this and I stick to these 3 principles when travelling:
1.) Be adventurous, with a dash of caution.
Before I engage in any physical activity that requires me to sign a waiver saying the company is not responsible for my injury or death, I thoroughly do my research before departing the country. I need to know the reputation of the company and read previous reviews and articles on the company and brand. I also take into consideration the safety standards of the country I will be undertaking the said activity in. I know that accidents can happen anywhere, but as an example, I would be very open to going on a cross country drive in the USA, but would probably think 3-5 times about doing the same in a country with civil unrest.
2.) Be physically fit
This is the least you can do to make your life of adventure as easy as possible. I’ve accepted that choosing to do adventures may yield a greater exposure to injuries and harm. But the fitter you are, the lesser chances of an accident, and to those who are accident-prone like me: the faster you can recover and bounce back to the next adventure!
3.) Get a comprehensive travel insurance
This is the most important among the three. You can be at the best of health and practice great caution, but without travel insurance, these are rendered useless.
For our kind of travel lifestyle we get a year-round all-country covered insurance, similar to the World Multi Trip coverage of Southern Cross Travel Insurance. Because we travel quite often and sometimes cannot plan when or where we will be travelling within a space of 3-6 months (a lot of last minute travels come up too!), a full coverage is what suits us. This means we are covered for 1 year starting from the first date of travel, to any country doing any activity , up to 90 consecutive days per trip.
Travelling well prepared and well-covered ensures that I have peace of mind while overseas, therefore I can enjoy my trip even more!
I’d love to know — what’s the most adventurous activity you’ve done while travelling? And how do you stay safe while overseas?
*This is a sponsored post*
Tony Louis says
What an adventurous life you are having. I admire your lifestyle, it is highly inspiring. You are one brave woman, some would say nuts, LOL But I say brave, full of adventure and living life to the max. The condition of GOUT is one I suffered in may last year 2013. I thought I was having a heart attack and found out after eating so clean, I had a mad food binge and ate 6 eggs scrambled, 4 slices of bacon, 3 sausages, mushrooms fried, 4 slices of toast (white bread with butter) and a large hot chocolate made with cows milk and white sugar. This was all eaten in a café. I had emotional problems dealing with Laura’s problem at the time which may have been why I was diverted from my clean diet. GOUT is awful and make you feel like you are dying… It’s to do with acids in your gut. Good diet rids our body of gout… Check out my new channel on youtube
TONYLOUIS105, BOXING, FITTNESS, HEALTH, DIET & MEDITATION
I’ve started a channel and will share my 41 years of Boxing, physical and mental training that I’ve done over the years including diet, meditation etc. You’re adventures are incredible and inspiring. You are definitely right when you say get your body in shape and be fit before traveling. When one is fit you feel more alive and enjoy life better… Some would say Diving with Tiger sharks is dangerous, but I don’t fear sharks and have dived with them many times in the Caribbean.. I consider a jellyfish to e one of the most dangerous things in the sea and have received a crippling sting by one in the Caribbean sea. Sea currents can also be dangerous but I’ve beaten them all so far. One almost turned my body into mince meat In St Lucia Caribbean while I was snorkelling near the Pitons.. It took me under then threw me out to sea, my body twisted and I had no control for a short while and had to find my orientation. I’m very good underwater and can hold my breath for 3min 50 sec before coming up for air. I eventually gained control by power swimming underwater like a frog and power swam out of the currents zone. When I arrived back to shore. I saw a sign that I had missed warning of strong currents in that area LOL… I have climbed every mountain peak in the UK and started from the age of 12. The first mountain I climbed was Goat fell, on a Scottish Island called Isle of Arran. At age 12 it was a huge adventure, and I did this with my school. Nowadays they do not have such trips due to the danger and liability or Health and safety laws. I feel sorry for young people now because the new laws and way of life has taken away the very essence of adventure for many people… Thailand will be my next big adventure because I’ve never done it before, then it’s Bali Indonesia. Thanks for sharing your adventures with me…. and looking forward to more… Sending you and the happy snapper all my positive thoughts, love and happiness and wish you and the happy snapper many more years of safe adventurous travel xxx
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Hi Tony ,
Thank you for your comment and the interesting share about your eating background. I’ve been watching some of your recipes to get ideas on clean eating, they are very helpful. The hardest part for me is jumpstarting – but once you continue the healthy lifestyle for about 2 weeks, you will realise how good it makes you feel and then instead of thinking of it as a ‘sacrifice’, its more a way of life.
41 years of boxing, that’s incredible! And agree, the irikangi jellyfish are more dangerous than sharks as you cannot see them at all. I’m looking forward to watching and reading all about your Thailand trip –
Tony Louis says
Your life is one of the most incredible on youtube. I’m amazed by your Jean Holly Smithereens spirit of travel adventure and your love for exploring the world. Laura and I speak about you a lot and it motivates us. We not only love your adventurous nature but love the High classy nature of it too and your generosity in sharing it with us. Mount Pinatubo, Wow you climbed it.. Awesome… We can’t wait for Thailand and will capture it well on video and Photos. If you ever get the chance visit ST Lucia Anse chastnet, Jade mountain or Ladera Resort all near the Pitons. I’m more excited for Laura because she has never travelled before apart from Turkey Bodrum where she was ill most of the time
Samantha Duffield says
Ashley Hyde says
You was lucky! 🙂
Don Cox says
Just remember, NO jumping.
Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel says
A tiger shark!!!! A tiger shark!!! I’d have passed out. Enjoyed reading of your adventurous adventures and they make me feel like heading off tot he wilds. I think that realistically car crashes are the most dangerous thinsg ever, especially in countries with poor infrastructure. I remember feeling quite nervy at times in Ghana and in Kenya on some of the roads…. but at least I did have insurance and could have been medivacced out if I’d survived… luckily never had to do that. I am dreadful about travel insurance lately as most places I’ve gone are familiar enough… I keep meaning to get an annual one, at least for me…. must get a grip. Entertaining read!
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Hi Seana, yes I know re Tiger Shark! And I cant believe no one got footage of it as everyone was stunned. My husband got literally the tail end footage of it as he fumbled with the camera underwater. Our diving group was ‘popular’ when we returned to the resort, as the dive masters spread the word. (example, at one of the resort’s restaurants, we were politely asked what we did yesterday and when we said we dove– no any other details, they immediately said “oh so you were the group that saw the tiger shark!” Agree, cars are still the most dangerous ways of travelling. In certain countries, even if you are a safe driver, it doesnt help when around you, most are reckless. I haven’t done Africa yet, you have gone to a lot of seriously cool places! 🙂
Tony Louis says
Definitely agree with you check out just one of my 3 lucky escapes in a car. This one exploded and I was 7 seconds from death by motorway cremation. Look from 10min 18 sec
Tony Louis says
I totally agree with you. Cars are definitely the most dangerous way of travelling and I’m terrified of them since my car accident in 2009 where I was hit at 85mph head on by a drunk driver driving a huge van and another time my car exploded on the motorway. I was 7 seconds from death. My other message has the wrong link so copy and paste this onto youtube’s search box and watch from 10min 18sec
PART 2, TONY “ROCKHARD” LOUIS 140KG BENCH BENCH PRESS 13.2.2012
Greg | Travel Blue Book says
I hope your injury is starting to feel better. As an American, I find it sad that everybody has to worry about health insurance every time they come here.
Holy Smithereens says
Thank you guys. I swear im not going near any blasted trampoline for a long LONG LONG time! Xx
Tony Louis says
The Trampoline LOL nearly broke my neck on one of them when I was AGE 19… It takes a lot of practice and safety precautions to be safe on one of them
Grace Gomez-Fujimaki says
Great to hear that! Take care!
Anna @ shenANNAgans says
Wow… Just Wow! I loved this post, you are doing all the things I just wouldnt, except for maybe the feasting in the States, I def do that. You are crazy girl, but inspiring too! Happy Friday, hope you are well. xox