‘How can you guarantee safety?’ was a question I recently received by email. The sender was talking about journeying in Mali, more specific about the journeys we offer in Mali and the safety of our guests.
I was fascinated by the last two words of that line: guarantee safety.
Wouldn’t it be great if anyone could actually do that: GUARANTEE SAFETY
I’d love to be able to do so and more even I’d wish that there would not even be a need for a question like that. Safety should be something so common, so natural that we would even forget about the word ever having existed.
Unfortunately it’s a word often used, mainly because of a lot of people not feeling safe. Looking for guarantees indeed. Or for someone who will give them something that may look like a guarantee for safety.
That person however is not going to be me. And as far as I know no insurance company has ever come up with an insurance covering or guaranteeing safety.
Safety is simply not something that can be guaranteed.
Not in any place, not at any particular moment.
Safety is a feeling. Even though the word is also often used in a different way.
We do live in a dynamic world. Everything is changing all the time.
What feels as a safe environment at one point in time, may be the scene of crime some other day.
I have visited a multitude of places where I’ve felt very safe, including:
– Alphen aan den Rijn in The Netherlands where a man shot about 17 people in a shopping center early last year
– Oslo in Norway, where almost 80 people lost their lives mid 2011 as the result of a one-man-action
– Timbuktu in Mali, where several tourists were kidnapped in November 2011, only a month after I felt very safe walking its sandy streets
– Luik in Belgium where a man threw grenades in the town center late 2011
There are of course a lot of things that can be done to minimize the risks of traveling, and of living in general.
The two golden rules I always apply are:
– use your common sense
– trust your senses and follow up on them
All others, such as the examples below, are derived from the above two:
– keep your valuables out of sight
– travel with a qualified travel agency or a local guide
– stay up to date on the local situation when traveling independently
If anyone ever tells you that safety will be guaranteed, you might want to think twice..!