Dear Dr Tinman: What can possibly go wrong overseas?
Welcome to the eighth edition of Dr Tinman’s Ignorant Remedies for the Aching Soul. I am Dr Tinman, life-doctor and former internationally-renowned gymnastics judge.
Today, I am proud to announce that in the two months since I began writing this column, there hasn’t been a single death attributed to my advice (if you don’t count that case where the DNA evidence went missing). That’s something of a record for me.
Now, let’s take a look at this week’s question.
Dear Dr Tinman,
In four weeks’ time, I will be embarking on my first overseas trip. I’m very excited as I have never been to a foreign country. I am, however, an inexperienced traveller. Do you have any tips for me?
You will have a marvelous time! It’s been so long since I was last overseas, sweat oozing from my pores as I engaged in a delightful round of Russian roulette to repay several significant gambling debts. While it’s possible that you, too, will return with no cash, a stolen identity and strange scars that you can never, ever explain to anyone, you will come back with memories that you will treasure forever (or, at the very least, a series of horrific flashbacks and nightmares involving blurred faces and nondescript shapes).
Even so, no traveller - seasoned or otherwise - should be careless. If you fail to properly prepare for your trip, you will almost certainly fall victim to the following:
- Identity theft
- Organ harvesting
- An extended conversation with former Saved by the Bell star Mario Lopez.
- Drug rings
- Paying full-price to see The Dark Knight Rises only to find it’s been dubbed in Italian with no English subtitles.
- Accidentally drowning a gondola operator.
- A chance encounter with Matthew Newton.
- New Zealand.
- Spilling a hot kettle.
- Missing the running of the bulls because you were gored to death by a bull in a different part of Spain in a completely unrelated incident.
- Setting your passport on fire because some random Swedish lady said it would look really cool (note: It totally did).
- People who write “travel blogs”, which are really just grainy pictures of meals and observations like: “Taxis are really expensive here and Paris isn’t as nice as in that movie with Owen Wilson about time-traveling.”
- Being the 400th person of the day to quote Sir Ridley Scott’s Gladiator at the Colosseum in a shitty Russell Crowe voice.
While some of these can be prevented through packing specific supplies (such as large bundles of cash sewn into the linings of your luggage for use as bribes and waving around at bars so locals know how “money” you are), most of the above are horribly unavoidable.
There is, however, one practical piece of advice I can give you. Buy a map of whatever city you’re in and locate every Australian-themed bar. Then, draw a circle around each one with a radius equivalent to 5km. Make it a priority to never set foot in these areas or “red zones”.
This will ensure you won’t have to endlessly quote The Castle, yell “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” during religious ceremonies, funerals and other culturally-sensitive events or pretend to actually enjoy singing children’s songs by Rolf Harris while intoxicated.
Your chances of being arrested for running naked through a fountain while shouting some variation of “How’s the serenity!” will also be reduced by approximately 225 per cent.
Aside from that, there is little else I can tell you that will help you avoid returning as a hollow, broken shell of the proud person you once were.
Kindest of warm regards,
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