Adventure Tourism: JoGuru brings inspiring stories on Overcoming Murphy's Law in the Wild

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Often good things are written about travel and travelogues are always interesting. But JoGuru brings you some awe-inspiring travel stories about survival and endurance when all else go wrong.

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Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong!

Adventure tourism is massive. A 2013 estimate suggested that the industry was worth $345 billion and growing fast. The proliferation of media and ease of access to necessary information has everyone seeking out the more distant corners of the world and immersing in the exotic. But such a rapid rise in the industry also suggests that tourists may be biting off more than they could possibly chew, simply because they haven't had the experience to know any better.

When Murphy's Law strikes, it usually strikes devastatingly. In these scenarios, it’s the rare tourist who can keep a calm mind, assess the situation critically and make hard choices. Even after the hard choices have been made, it takes an entirely different sort of mindset to stick to the course that's been chosen. JoGuru brings you every survival story that's ever awed the world and has had a few things in common: calmness, resourcefulness, endurance, positivity and decisiveness.

Let's begin with the story of Aron Ralston, on whom the movie 127 Hours is based. With a boulder trapping his arm to a canyon wall in Utah, and his location and predicament entirely unknown to everyone, his chances of survival were slim. After his initial panic, he took stock of his resources, rationed his food and water, and finally made the decision to break and cut off his own arm. The pain was beyond imaginable, and it took him two hours. Despite having being exposed to the elements for five days, he found the strength to rappel down the canyon wall and keep walking till hikers found him. He's still an active mountaineer. Important traits: endurance and decisiveness.

It's not always the elements. This year, one of the leading contenders for the Best Picture Oscar is that of Captain Phillips, but piracy is also a threat to those not carrying millions of dollars worth of cargo. When pirates sailing off the Thai coast shot at Carol Martini and Jay Barry, Barry displayed supreme strength of mind and rammed his own vessel into that of the pirates. It scared the aggressors badly enough that they turned tail and ran. Important traits: keeping cool and decisiveness.

A more gruesome tale is of the Uruguayan Rugby team. In 1972, the plane carrying team to a match in Chile crashes into a mountain in the high Andes, a mere twenty minutes before it was to land. The crash kills a dozen people almost immediately. Despite their salvage of the plane to protect them from the cold and careful rationing, the group runs out of food and is faced with the stomach turning decision of eating the dead. It takes quite a bit of suffering before one can trade their deepest morals for a chance of survival, yet that is often the price that living through a disaster. Of the 29 people on that plane, 16 survived. That is a stunning fact. Important traits: Resourcefulness, endurance and decisiveness.

A truly harrowing tale is that of the crew of the Endurance. In 1914, trapped by the Antarctic ice, the crew spent twenty-two months in the doomed ship before tides and ice destroyed it. Long presumed dead, the crew of 27 spent months dug into ice and running out of shoes. Eventually making the brave decision to move, they hiked for 300 days through the ice and snow on dog sleds, occasionally making the heart wrenching decisions to kill of teams of their loyal pets, because they were consuming too much of the rations. Reaching Elephant Island, then an unpopulated and near unknown rock, the heroism of the owner of the boat comes to the forefront. He made the harsh decision of crossing 800 miles of choppy sea to Georgia Island in a makeshift raft. Sixteen days later, he reached, only to find that he'd landed on the wrong side of the island. Exhausted and near collapse, he marched a further 36 hours over mountains and glaciers to reach the port of Stromness. He had started from this very bay two years ago. Important traits: calmness, resourcefulness, endurance, positivity and decisiveness, at each and every step.

The qualities of the survivor are universal across all these success stories. The harshest training, the wealthiest accumulation of knowledge and decades of experience are of no use to someone who hasn't already fought and won the battle in his or her mind and spirit, for that's where the most crucial achievement lies: finding the unshakable desire to survive and as the Murphy’s Law says “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong!" But be strong no matter what.

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Praveen Kumar
since: 07/2012
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