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The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel has four primary uses:

(1) To let you fantasize safely about what you would do in a life-threatening situation you probably won't face, but have seen in the movies (survive after being lost in a jungle, escape a mob, survive a kidnapping)

(2) Provide humorous scenarios that you will probably never face to give you a good laugh (being abducted by a UFO, handling a runaway camel, getting rid of a leech in your nose)

(3) Practical advice for challenges that many travelers will encounter (stopping a car with no brakes, handling a runaway horse, foiling thieves)

(4) Reducing risk of harm from unlikely events that you probably do think about (escaping a hotel fire, what to do after falling onto a subway track, surviving an elevator fall).

I was impressed that although I did not expect to learn anything I could ever use, the book actually had several sections which I wish I had known about when I faced travel challenges in the past (handling scorpion stings, what to do in a hotel fire, how to stop a runaway horse that someone else is on, making a shelter in the snow, avoiding having your carry-ons stolen at the x-ray machine). I suspect that I will be able to use this information in the future.

Another benefit I got was to realize that I could handle some emergencies that I would normally consider well beyond me. In these days when travel seems more dangerous than before, this book may also be worth carrying to play the role of Dumbo's magic feather -- to build a little confidence. For example, I don't like to fly in small planes. I think I could follow the instructions in the book for crash landing a small plane in water, as long as someone could help me. But I could never remember all of these details in a crisis. Having the book along will help me relax a lot more on my next small plane flight.

People with phobias about certain travel situations may find the knowledge that they gain here can help reduce their anxiety.

One of the best parts of the book came in the foreword by David Concannon of the Explorers Club who described the many hideous things that had happened to him in order to encourage you to realize that the unexpected does happen, you need to accept what is beyond your control, always have a contingency plan, and no matter how bad things are . . . they could get worse. As a result, you will probably spend more time thinking through the potential challenges that you will face on future trips, and be better prepared to handle these challenges.

My favorite funny parts in the book were the runaway camel, passing a bribe, foiling a UFO abduction, trailing a thief, losing someone following you, jumping from a moving train, escaping from being tied up, ramming a barricade, surviving a volcanic eruption, surviving a tsunami, getting rid of leeches, and crossing a piranha-infested river. Indiana Jones, move over!

Even if you never travel, the book "will provide good information and entertainment for the armchair survivalist."

Be prepared!
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