Natural Disasters & Travel

Natural Disasters & Travel

The Earthquake in Nepal has been shocking. The pictures and video coming out of there highlight just how bad it really is, and all we can do is pray for everyone who was there.

Disasters like these always remind me just how fragile life is. That no matter where you are in the world, bad things can happen. Life can change in an instant and there is nothing you can do about it. If it is going to happen whilst you are there, so be it.

As a traveler and recent London expat, I have truly increased my travel in the past 2 years. Whether it was working at an American Summer camp, or living on the other side of the world; roadtripping across the Midwest, taking a train to Paris for the weekend or eating Currywurst in Berlin; I have barely been home in Melbourne until now.

But as much as I travel, I never shake the feeling that bad things may happen when I am abroad. Natural disasters can happen, freak accidents can occur and you may get caught up in any of it.

It sounds stupid, but every time I visit a new city or country, I breathe a sigh of relief that I made it in and out of there alive. That nothing bad happened whilst I was there, even though the possibility of it was always there.

I mean, there are some places I cannot go without thinking of the worst case scenario. San Francisco and LA get a lot of earthquakes and are waiting on a ‘big one’. Tornado Alley in the US, is called that for a reason. Hurricanes and Cyclones can make landfall along the coasts of many countries, and Tsunami’s can very well hit any tropical area, including Australia. Some may see it as stressing out over nothing, but I am always aware of the possibility of things like this happening.

As a travel writer, I follow a lot of similar people on social media sites and keep track of where and what they are doing, for my own inspiration and what to see next.

A few years ago, I began to follow Dan Fredinburg, a Google senior exec. He was an adventurer and traveler who just so happened to be dating one of the actresses from my favourite tv show ‘One Tree Hill’, Sophia Bush at the time.

Even though they later parted ways, and remained friends, I kept following him because he represented things about travel and adventure that I identified with.

Last year, he tried to climb Everest but due to an avalanche which killed many Sherpas, he and many others had to come back in 2015 to climb the summit once it was ok to resume this.

Over the past few weeks, many photos were posted by him on Instagram as he and his group began their climb to the summit. He was in his element: climbing mountains and living the adventure. It was exciting to watch and bask in the beauty of their surroundings. I would never be able to do this, but I was happy to relish in the experience of others.

When the earthquake happened, I knew Everest would be affected in some way. But I hoped it wouldn’t be as bad as what we were seeing in the towns and cities in the aftermath and that climbers would be ok.

Waking up on Sunday morning, I was scrolling through Instagram as you do, and that’s where it was confirmed. Dan was killed in the avalanche that was bought on by this earthquake, having suffered a fatal head injury.

Though he is only one of thousands to have lost their lives in this tragedy; I feel real sadness for him, because he was just like me: sharing his travels for the world to see; inspiring others to visit places, experiencing things and doing what he loved. He had no idea how soon it would all end.

It’s just not fair.

May Dan, and all those who were in Nepal-whatever took them there: volunteering, history, adventure-that were affected by this in the worst possible way; find peace in knowing that you were doing what you wanted in life. Things that made you happy. Having experiences that inspired you in your own life, and in others too; even if it was just through an Instagram post.

Because whilst we cannot fathom why this has occurred, we can still smile and remember that you were in your element when it happened.

I will continue to travel because it makes me happy. But I will never forget the people who had their journeys cut short over the years.

Those, I will forever take along with me for as long as I get to do this, because they can’t.

Rest In Peace to all.

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