How Not To Die On Vacation, A Podcast

How Not To Die On Vacation, A Podcast

With summer coming this is a podcast re-post mixed with new blog content.


Last years rafting trip down the Gauley River really got me thinking about self-imposed bodily harm and death while on vacation.

At the 19 second mark, you’ll notice a drone in the upper right corner of the frame. At the 33 second mark, you’ll also notice a canopy staffed with a photographer… apparently Pillow Rock is where you watch all us city rubes swim for their life and the post the footage on YouTube.

Vacation Death, it’s legit. I’m not talking about jumping the border into some third world country, or city, and being taken captive by the local bad guys. I’m talking about the well planned out vacation where you decide to push the limits of your physical ability or put your safety in the hands of someone that’s elevator doesn’t go to the top floor.

Certain things you have no control over, like air disaster, train derailment, random food poisoning or your cruise ship sinking. I’m talking about situations that YOU can avoid.

Rule #1 Leave your ego at home…..

At Chateau’ Relaxo we regularly take family vacations that involve some sort of adventure, but my wife or I vet the situation before we sign any sort of a release. Often it’s not always the safety involved, but knowing the limits, both physical and mental of those participating.

Several years ago one of the kids wanted to do a zip line course at Hawksnest. A few years prior one of them had backed out of a high wire course in Georgia about 50′ feet into it. We took them to the zip line course and let them eyeball the first platform and then make their own decision. They decided that this wasn’t for them. No need to make them do anything that they weren’t comfortable with. Besides no one wants to deal with someone losing their mind 200′ above ground on a 10′ by 6′ platform. Plus it saved us a few hundred dollars.

That being said an adventure while on vacation can teach you a bit about yourself. Several years ago another one of the kids decided to venture into cliff jumping while on a whitewater rafting trip on the Watauga River. He’s a good swimmer and was wearing a life jacket so he got the parental nod. Let’s just say he learned a lot about himself once he hit the 60-degree water.

I’m an avid fly fisherman and have spent many decades wading streams and reading water currents. One frosty February morning, I took a wrong step off a submerged rock and ended up in water over my head only to be followed by being swept downstream in sub-50-degree water. Fortunately, I was able to keep my wits about me and situate myself so my legs so they were pointed forward as I guided myself towards shallow water.

There have been several destination Warrior Dashes. These events are a bunch fun coupled with low risk, so long as you can survive a 5K littered with water, ropes, and fire… plus there’s beer when it’s over.

A few years ago we visited the crystal museum that is Río Secreto. This is where the history of our planet is written on the myriad geological formations. This was a half mile underground tour through the crystal stalagmites and stalactites of a water-filled cave. Anytime you strap on any sort of gear, especially a wet-suit you get the feeling of true adventure.

So here’s a plan for staying alive on vacation:

  • Can’t swim – Stay away from the water, no scuba diving or rafting.
  • Scared of heights – Stay on the ground, don’t parachute, hang glide, zip-line or rock climb.
  • Don’t like horses – Don’t ride one.
  • Weak stomach – If you’re away from home it’s not the time to expand your food choices, especially if you’re overseas.
  • ****** If you’re going someplace unfamiliar look it up on YouTube, don’t trust what you read on Yelp, Trip Advisor or your neighbor tells you.

Here’s a bit more food for thought, those releases you blindly sign, they’re pretty iron clad. If their income stream relies on that release being held up in court, you better believe that several lawyers wrote it.

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