How much adventure is too much? It’s a question I ask myself again as I prepare to leave for 3 weeks in the Venezuelan jungles. I have tried to settle my pre-travelling nerves by finding as much information on Venezuela on line as I can. Unfortunately this does not settle my nerves.
Venezuela is currently in the grip of a desperate economic crisis –a large proportion of the population is in extreme poverty and the statistics on violent crime in Caracas make grim reading. They are not statistics I like.
However, as you would expect I have taken precautions. A LOT of precautions. Venezuela values its tourists and I am being met, escorted, chaperoned and guided through all stages of my visit and, according to all the local advice I can get, I am highly unlikely to encounter any problems of the human kind.
The jungle however, is another matter. My adventuring hero and Amazonian explorer, Perceval Harrison Fawcett wrote detailed accounts of his jungle explorations including ‘the great balls of flesh eating ticks that dropped from the trees as we passed’; being attacked by a 62 foot anaconda and calming an Indian war party by playing God Save the Queen on his accordion.
I suspect my trip will be a little less wild but, once again faced with the prospect of the unknown, I have taken precautions. Already my living room looks like the aftermath of a gas explosion in Millets. I am taking quick drying clothes, plastic bags, waterproofs, industrial strength mosquito repellent strong enough to melt plastic (really!) and tea – because, well you know…TEA!
My travelling companion takes a long look at my assorted hardware and delivers his verdict. “Jeez, did you buy enough bloody gadgets?” I’m not sure – did I buy enough gadgets? Am I missing some vital bit of Bear Grylls kit that will make the difference between life and death? Or did I simply bring too much stuff? I survey the kit again and decide that it must be ok because at least I didn’t pack an accordion.
One question I always ask kids on my school visits is “how many of you have ever had to go and visit somewhere or someone new when it made you feel really nervous?” Most invariably put their hand up. “And how many of you had a fabulous time that you weren’t expecting when you got there?” Again most put their hand up and then regale me with stories about wild adventures with new friends in exciting places that they would never have ventured to unless they had stepped outside their comfort zone. And there it is. The definition of adventure – ‘it felt scary, but I did it anyway’.
So how much adventure is too much? I‘ll tell you when I get back.
See you in three weeks.