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March 28, 2011

Tips: staying alive on the road

Since we started our trip last August, we came close quite a few natural disasters. We avoided some serious hurricanes in Mexico, left behind already Christchurch when the earthquake struck, evaded Yasi in Australia, I actually felt a 6.5 quake shake in Bali while I was writing this blog, just to learn one day after, that an even more serious quake was hitting Japan, crossing out our plans to visit this fascinating country. At the time of writing this, another 6.8 hits Myanmar, just north of Thailand, where we are.

How can one be prepared while on the road?

Obviously you have to check the news every now and then, and have your friends and family check it at home, while you are sleeping or kitesurfing in the other side of the world:) If you have a specific searchword, you might even set up Google Alerts to message you whenever there is a new hit for your search.

In contrast to earthquakes, tropical storms are predictable. There used to be a nice little iGoogle gadget, called “Tropical Storms”, which warned me quite efficiently every time I logged into my Google account. It was showing storms in Mexico and Queensland, but just recently it stopped working. The JTWC website is still useful until the author fixes this, and a quick search revealed two other useful gadgets worth looking at: Hurricane Watcher and DisasterMonitor.

Earthquakes on the other hand are pretty much unpredictable, all you can do is verify if you felt one, and be informed if there is one where you plan to travel to. This website comes quite handy as it shows all the major quakes in the past 7 days. The stunning thing when you check this site is, that since the major quake of March 11 in Japan, there is not a single day without a bunch of 4/5/6 magnitude quakes “NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN”!

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