Trust Locally Travel Safely from here to Timbuktu
This is our new mission statement.
What do we mean?
In a nutshell we mean that by trusting to your own intuition AND trusting the local perspective of your guide you can travel safely anywhere in the world.
An extreme example: we would never advise anyone to go into an active conflict zone for obvious reasons. But say you have to. Say it is your job. You are a war correspondent. You are sent to Afghanistan with a mission to get behind enemy lines.
How would you go about this? Would you just arrive in Kabul, get a bus to Taliban land and walk in saying “Hi I’m looking for a Taliban to interview?”. Of course not. Would you consult your government and go in with the military? Wouldn’t work. Would you get your editor to hook up with the taliban so you can drive in yourself expected? No.
You’d find a guide. Someone from the region, someone with connections, someone who could argue your case and protect your interest. And you’d only move forwards into dangerous territory knowing you had back up, trusting in your local plan and your guide’s advice. If you didn’t trust your guide you’d drop the mission.
We are not asking you to go to Afghanistan, or Syria or Libya. We are asking you to go to Mali, Jordan. Iran, Senegal, Morocco, Egypt, Ethipiopia, Kenya. What is keeping you away?
Fear. Fear of politics. Fear of terrorism. Fear of the unknown. But you have all of that in your back yard.
Kenya’s tourism has been decimated. Why? Because tourists fear being kidnapped from the beach by a pirate. This is what the brave that do travel to kenya do instead:
When the shit hits the fan
On the road occasionally the shit hits the fan, that’s life. On our journeys to Timbuktu over the past decade occasionally a vehicle broke down, occasionally a passport was lost, occassionally someone got ill and our journey had to change direction.
When a world financial crisis happened, we had to adapt to a changing world; when a war took place in Libya that had repercussions in our back yard in Mali we had to adapt our business. Once, when we were in the wrong place at the wrong time, we had to adapt our journey.
Then one day real crisis hit – Mali had a coup d’etat and went into political and civil crisis, our world was divided against itself, our people became refugees. We had to adapt to a new reality. But whatever happend, whatever we had to adapt around, we always returned to Timbuktu, and from Timbuktu we all always returned home.
As nomads, travellers, guides or refugees we were always “safe” because we always had two essential guides to rely upon – our own intuition to judge the moment and a local guide’s understanding and perspective to judge any situation. And at all pojnts on any journey real safety is in your driver’s hands not the outside world’s.
So we say keep your eyes on the road ahead, trust your local perspective and you can travel safely.
Travel is our species’ raison d’etre – we are the success we are today because we travelled across the globe and discovered our planet. To travel we need to trust in our ability to get to know a new environment. To understand a new environment we need local knowledge. If we have local knowledge we trust in our inate ability to safely travel forwards. We’ve been doing it since our time began!
What do we trust?
We trust our own ability to deal with the unknown and our ability to communicate with others we might meet on our journey to help us on our way. We walk to the shop, we take the bus to the big city, we take a train to the continent, we fly to the other side of the world because we like to move, we have moved before, we trust in our environment and we trust in the local people at all points on the journey to guide us on our way.