Looking for Lemons by Lloyd Figgins is a travel survival guide book, due for release in March 2016. The theme of the book, is how to be mentally prepared for the variety of emergency and dangerous situations which can occur as you travel. Having faced a few myself, I happily said yes when I was offered a pre-release review copy to read. So, here we go…
Each chapter of Looking for Lemons by Lloyd Figgins covers a potential hazard that might be experienced when travelling. Within those chapters, Lloyd includes a section called My Story. This recounts his personal experiences of a similar situation. I thought I would unashamedly steal the idea, and start this book review by telling My Story. I will be brief, I promise!
As regular readers may know, I tend to prefer the more adventurous side of travel. My two longest adventure travel trips were Cycling from England to South Africa, and Cycling from Alaska to Argentina. Many people might consider these to be dangerous trips to undertake, but I have never really thought about it this way. I have always made myself aware of the political situations of the countries I pass through, taken into account recent reports of crime affecting travellers, and planned my routes carefully. I have a natural approach to situational awareness, and make carefully calculated decisions. I have often thought of writing about this, but the closest I have gotten to it so far, is my tongue in cheek article – Best Tips On How To Get Robbed As You Travel. Looking for Lemons by Lloyd Figgins is probably the only book I have read which comes the closest to my own approach to safety and travel.
Looking for Lemons by Lloyd Figgins
Let's start by the title of the book. There is a story attached to this, where the author meets a woman who described some tourists who had recently died as having ‘their lemons come up'. What does this mean? Well, imagine a slot machine, where you line up lemons to win a prize. In this case though, these lemons were a series of things they had done wrongly, which had led to their deaths.
I have often thought similar things when people tell me of their mishaps when they travel. A popular one is ‘Oh, I got robbed in Cusco. Don't go there, it's dangerous'. When you look further into it though, it isn't the place that is dangerous, rather their actions whilst they were there. In the case of the people I met who got robbed in Cusco, they made several mistakes. Lemon 1 – They went to a bar in the middle of nowhere in Cusco. Lemon 2 – They got so drunk they could barely stand. Lemon 3 – They decided to walk home by themselves from the bar at 2 am. Basically, their lemons came up, and they got robbed. How can you make yourself aware of these situations, and what do you do when despite your best efforts you end up in a situation you have little control over? Looking for Lemons has got it covered.
The book is split into 10 chapters, which include Aircraft Safety, Kidnap and Awareness Avoidance, Personal Safety and Security, Natural Disasters, Medical Issues, Vehicle Safety, Boat Safety, Accommodation Safety, Terrorism, and Essential Kit. It describes the best way to avoid danger, some statistics behind it, decision making processes, and what to do if you find yourself in a less than desirable situation. There are several themes emphasised throughout the book, all aimed at making travel safer. These are risk mitigation, how to react in an emergency, crisis management, and situational awareness.
One of the interesting things about Looking for Lemons, is that the philosophy behind it can be applied to general life, and not just travel. So, whilst it is an extremely useful resource for backpackers, people travelling to other countries on business, gap year students, and volunteers working overseas, it also has every day applications. After all, everyone should have situational awareness, whether you are on your daily commute, or travelling through the more remote parts of the world.
Looking for Lemons by Lloyd Figgins is due for release in March 2016. It is a well written travel book that deserves a place on any self-respecting traveller's bookcase, and is essential reading when planning a trip abroad.