Bug bites, burns, electrocution and other reasons not to stay home…

Health & Safety, Lost Girls RTW Adventure, Peru — By on August 11, 2006 at 1:46 pm

safetravelSpotting Scarlet Macaws in the Amazon and watching the sunrise over Machu Picchu may be the stuff of adventure travel fantasies, but you haven’t really lived (or perhaps, appreciated living) until you’ve had 220 Volts of electricity running through your left arm.

That’s what happened to me when I failed to understand the instructions on the adapter kit that allows us to convert the energy in our hotel rooms to a form that won’t blow up our cameras and laptop when we charge them. With one half of the adapter sitting tentatively in the socket, I thoughtlessly pushed it all the way in the flat part of my palm, not realizing that by doing so, I was completing the circuit that would send white-hot lightening rods of power into my body.

In the space of about 14 nanoseconds, I screeched so loud that Jen and Hol thought I’d been bitten by ginormous rat, yanked my hand from the wall and dove headlong atop the bed across the room from where they sat, mouths agape.

When I finally had the nerve to look down at my smarting palm, I fully expected to find the kind of char marks that you’d find on a Burger King whopper, but my hand only suffered the indignity of being attached to such a mentally challenged owner. Nearly electrocuting myself isn’t one of my prouder moments, but as I’ve also burned my leg on a motorcycle tailpipe, busted ass falling down the stone steps of a convent in Cusco, nearly bucked off a wild horse in Chincha Alta and covered head to toe with mosquito and chigger bites in the Amazon jungle, I’ve started to accept that travel mishaps are a part of well, traveling.

Sometimes I wonder if it would have been a lot safer if I’d just stayed home (actually, our mothers are convinced of that fact), but fortunately, I’ve got two friends to remind me that we dealt with far greater “disasters” in NYC…

Holly: Got her wallet stolen at the Starbucks on 51st and Broadway during one of our many meetings to plan this trip.

Jen: Fell down the subway stairs at Times Square on a mad dash to leave work. No bones broken, but she added one more scar to her soccer knees-and experienced major mortification on the way down.

Amanda: Had her passport snatched a bar during the big blizzard of 2005, requiring an emergency trip to a government office to replace it.

In an effort to keep their babies safe, our moms have taken to forwarding their Lost Girls a constant stream of State Department bulletins, warning us to stay away from just about every single destination on our itinerary. But while cities such as Lima, Nairobi and Rio have a worldwide reputation for being dangerous, New York isn’t exactly a modern day Mayberry. In the weeks before we left, the headlines decried shootings, muggings and bus accidents-all within blocks of our Upper West Side apartment.

And even now, threats of terrorism may continue to plague travelers (we were so upset to read about the arrests in London yesterday), but as New Yorkers who witnessed the 9/11 attacks firsthand, we can attest to the fact that bad stuff can happen anywhere-even in your own backyard.

So, rather that steer clear of life-altering adventures just because there’s some element of risk involved, we’ve pressed on, trying to keep our eyes open, our backpacks locked and a roll of medical tape on hand. Because the only thing less cool than running into a little trouble on the road–is avoiding the journey altogether.

Tags: ,


  • Evolution of gina says:

    Well, Amanda, I didn’t even leave the house when I must have relieved about a gallon of fluid from my–ahem-“back forty” hole in about six hours.

    I want to lose weight, but I sooooo did not sign up for this.

    Oh yeah, after a violent coughing session, I cleaned out my stomach.

    I’m telling you guys this because I feel like I’ve bonded with y’all!

    *Looks at my 40c cups* A favor please? Could you take “brother blog” off? Please? Chuckles.

    Happy traveling!

  • Tracie says:

    Great blog!! Electrocution sucks!

  • Softball Slut says:

    Kepp on Rocking in the FRee world. That is what comes to mind when I read y’alls posts

  • Molly says:

    Amanda – I was eletrocuted in Peru also, but in the shower so my my whole body felt the warm, glowing feeling of being eletrocuted…too funny though, watch out for spiders in Australia.

  • The Lost Girls says:

    Thanks for the comments…compared with getting sick before, during and after the Inca Trail, ´lectrocution was a blast! At least we have´t broken anything…yet!

  • Liz says:

    In a small town about 20 minutes away from where I live, a man was killed (along with 50 people in an airplane) when said airplane crashed into his house. He was just hanging out at home. You aren’t 100% safe ANYWHERE.