This is NOT an SOS call for help, it is a Travel SOS, a Safety Optimization Strategy, how to make the best of dodgy adventure travel, and avoiding death.

The "Travel SOS Button is installed in my Brain."

I press this button, and turn on my common sense, normally weeks before the new adventure begins, but sometimes in real time. People need to understand how to have situational awareness and implement a SOS.

Good Morning Africa,
I am alive and doing fine.
I am 100 percent aware today that I could die.
I am 100 percent sure I will one day die.
Thank you Africa,
“Life is good!”
- Andy Graham World Traveler

I am in Natitingou, Benin West Africa, after Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo, and soon to Nigeria, Cameroon, all the way to South Africa by land.

Africa is INSANELY Safe for Travel.

But these Africa boys and girls hit my danger button daily, it is like walking near teenagers playing with firecrackers, you never know where they being thrown.

Born in the USA, always a little paranoid.
I was trained in the USA to be afraid of everything, the culture make everything a state of fear. And guess what, after 40 years in the USA, the culture did the job. I am indeed afraid; it is easy to hit the worry-about-things button. Logic, knowledge, and common sense does not stop years of cultural customs from being utilized, even when of zero value, they still exist.

That is, until my common sense kicks in, but I still experienced the fear, the rush, the adrenaline, the fight or flight. Waking up in fear is addictive, a thrill, a great way to live, nothing better than fear to give your brain a notification,
“Yes, I am alive and doing fine.”

Africa is full of thousands of small dangers,
And almost zero real danger.

But these kids, these infants are continually hitting this USA installed fear button. It is quite obvious, they do not have the button installed in their head, and I wish mine was removed. This is making the USA culture weak, soft targets, easy marks, the strong can always smell fear, and exploit it.

SOS button

Over the years, I have installed an optional plug in, maybe I can call it the:

Travelers S.O.S

Travels Safety Optimization Strategy BUTTON

How was I afraid in Benin, Africa yesterday?
Truly this story also explains what causes “cultural fatigue,” for the intellects in the crowd, but onto how these Benin, West Africans hit my USA installed fear button:

OK --- Wednesday February 20, 2013 - Drank the Water

I was sitting down, eating an egg sandwich at the Café John, an excellent cafeteria here in Natitingou, Benin. The waitress walks up, put a cup down on the table, opens a beat up plastic bottle of cold water, and pours me a drink.
“Aagh, oh my GOD, that water is not purified.”

OK
I click my Travel S.O.S. button, and my Travel Safety Optimization Strategy kicked in,

“Yes, you have already thought this one through and made a decision.”

“You decided the water in Natitingou was ok to drink from the tap, and sharing a cup with other people was acceptable risk.”

OK --- Monday, February 18, 2013 - Motorcyle Hit Me

I was hit by a motorcycle going maybe 5 miles per hour, about two times faster than a person walking. No injuries, life is good, but it hit my hip bone, so there is some residual bruise, but it is not even black and blue.

I am 99 percent OK, 1 percent for the Bone Bump.

They are doing road work here, I did not look left, and I walked out into a road full of motorcycle going about 15 miles per hour.

Walking down the road is the most dangerous thing I do as a world traveler. Getting hit by a car, truck or bus is my biggest fear in life, and my second biggest fear is food poisoning. I am hard pressed to find ways of dying from drinking the water, and I believe AID’S statistics are exaggerated 10 times more than real.

I love danger, and at age 57, as my mind, body, eyes, and ability to walk, run, and dodge cars slowly fails, I am having great fun here in West Africa.

I am in Benin, West Africa and generally safer than most countries I visit. Why, there are very few cars here in Natitingou, and the odds of me getting hit by a high speed car, or big bus, or truck is close to zero. I do not see big buses so that is about a zero and the trucks are so overloaded they seldom go faster than a walk inside the city.

I have a lot of free time, maybe an extra 5-6 hours per day to contemplate and research. Since about 2011, I have had Internet in my Hotel 365 days a year, and 24 hours per day, it is easy to read all the mistaken, misleading, and misguided statistics created by the save the world by donating to our scary thing organizations.

Road Deaths Statistics; (NOTE: Never trust statistics.)

1. “Every year, some 1.3 million
people die on the world’s roads – 3,500 every day. Another 50 million people are left with injuries,”

2. “Road traffic deaths and injuries represent a global
public health epidemic.”
MakeRoadsSafe.org

When was I scared in the last year 2012?

The most dangerous experience I felt in the last year was driving my Andy van from on US 70 from Denver to Keystone, Colorado.

What is the better way to die? You choose?

1. Driving up and down curving mountain roads surrounded by wall to wall traffic going 70-80 MPH or.

2. Walking across a road with motorcycles going 15 MPH?

Number 2 is the correct answer.

I want to thank all the good Gods for allowing me to have this travelers S.O.S. button installed in my brain and keeping me safe in Iraq, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and when war broke out in Cote d'Ivoir. I have never had a gun or knife pulled on me, that means my Travel SOS is GREAT. (One broken bottle)

SOS is called common sense, which is uncommon to find in the mind of modern man, a fear based animal who is lost in mental masturbation, and analysis paralisis.

A strategy takes into account all the risk, and makes the best decision from a lot of bad one available. Each situation is different, unique, and what work in Colorado, does not necessarily work in Benin, West Africa. Each and every day, we take insane risk, many we have learned to ignore, like driving cars at 70-80 mile per hour, as if there is no real danger.

Yet, I know many people that have died from car accident in the USA.

I have yet to hear of one story in 15 years of perpetual travel whereby another traveler died from drinking the water. The strategy is to drink the best water available at any given moment, for the cheapest amount of money. I have opted to drink the tap water in Benin, but did not drink it in Lome, Togo, and never in Ghana, a very dirty country overall.

And, I do a physical inspection of each city, checking the sewer, the water lines, and always knowing I probably can drink water from a lake and not really have problems.

Get a life, by living your life.

Careful with your comments here folks, I enjoy banning people who make smarmy comments, the arm chair wimps sitting wanking away their day, I am here, and you are there.

Get a music rush, listen to a song with the words,
“What makes you stronger.”

Each SOS strategy, each decision also has a BATNA.
The Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement.
With a good exit strategy, know how to call in an SOS, it is part of the SOS. If you have problems, you need to know where the door is, how much it cost to open, and how to open it, testing it, making sure it is viable.

Note; Buying a cans of peas, bean, or tuna that is rusty or dented is unsafe on any planet, food poisoning is a real killer, while water is always up for grabs. AIDS is an elective, opt in danger, and no war ever sneaks up on you, but walk away from gun toting police, all in all, better to be afraid, and alive, than safe, and mentally dead.

Yes, of course you will not come here, and would not do this, and that, but there is also a reason why I am listed as one of
National Geographic ADVENTURE Top Travel Bloggers,
because I enjoy living the life.

Thanks - Stand up and get weighed and measured, be an Adventure Traveler, where the big boys play.

Adventure Travel Defined: When doing an activity, or traveling to a location, where you can be killed, where the odds of death greatly increase. This is not bungy cord jumping... This is traveling alone, this is not a tour, this is going it alone, because everyone else decided it was not a good idea.

Andy Graham
February 2013 Natitingou, Benin
Hotel Bellevue, Room E-1
+22995596685

Andy Graham National Geographic

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