Every-time I hear One Republic’s “I Lived“, I can’t help but cry. Which is awkward when it comes over the radio and you’re in the car with friends. Or traveling via public transport surrounded by strangers.
But with everything I’ve accomplished in life, every obstacle I’ve proved could be overcome, every dream I’ve made a reality, and everything I have managed to achieve, if one song were to speak to me it would be this.
Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say…
I, I did it all.
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived.
And while traveling through Alaska recently in June, there came a night where we genuinely thought our moment had come. It wasn’t until that night, where we faced the possibility of not waking up the next morning, that I realized I wasn’t afraid of death. And that’s largely due to travel.
Sure, there’s still a lot more of the world to see, and while I’m not overly keen to leave this world having died young, I’ve realized that I wouldn’t feel ripped off it came. Upon reflection, if death came knocking on my door, I could say with absolute honesty “I swear I’ve lived”.
The Time We Faced Near Death in Alaska
I was camped outside the hotel lobby of a secluded cabin retreat in the Alaskan woods when Mike suddenly appeared, sprinting up the drive. Reception had closed at 8, however their WiFi (only available in the lobby) extended to the porch, so as they locked up I set up a work station to catch up on my blog.
“The Carbon Monoxide detector is going off” Mike said with a certain sense of worry.
While I had been blogging, he had been hiking, so the cabin, featuring only gas appliances, had been vacant for at least 5 hours. And Carbon Monoxide – an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that can render a person unconscious in an instant, and take their life in a second, this is not something you want to f*&^ with. Whole families have been silently taken out by this before.
With the owner of the retreat living above reception, thankfully we were able to have the cabin inspected. After having changed the batteries in the detector the beeping did stop. Though it was strange, he said, as the batteries which were in there were brand new, so they shouldn’t have been at fault. With no other rooms available, the owner gave the cabin the OK, and then left.
Though something had set the detector off. And even though we were fairly certain the hotel staff wouldn’t have left us there if they had believed there to be any danger, the feeling that we just might not wake up in the morning plagued us throughout the night. Everything in the cabin was gas, and if there was actually a leak, what’s to say we wouldn’t inhale the deadly fumes?
Carbon monoxide is scary as all hell. There is no smell, taste and it’s completely invisible. So how do you react when an alarm goes off and this situation is potentially happening to you?
The alarms are there for a reason – really the only way to warn you the environment is unsafe. So when you’re not sure whether the detector malfunctioned at first when it went off, or it was malfunctioning by appearing to work but not making a noise, it’s difficult to know what to do.
We sat and stared at each other across the table in silence, attempting to laugh off our panic. We opened all the windows in the place to air it. I ran to the cabin next door and woke them up at close to midnight to borrow their detector for 20 minutes to make sure it too didn’t go off. It didn’t.
We finally settled on there being no other choice but to go to sleep, and, granted if we didn’t wake up the next morning, at least there wouldn’t have been any pain.
We laughed about it, because of course “nothing like that would happen to us”, but we were both secretly sick to our stomache with that niggling feeling that there’s probably a 5% chance that we genuinely might just not wake up.
It seemed ridiculous at the time, and I can laugh about it now, but I genuinely composed a note on my laptop with emergency numbers and a few final words should the unlikely actually come to pass. After having taken as many paranoid precautions as we possibly could, we decided it was time to actually sleep. Even though we were fairly certain we were majorly over-reacting, there was still that feeling that there was a slim, albeit definitely possible, chance that this was our last sleep.
And I was strangely at peace with knowing that in my mind, to this point, I can say I’ve lived.
The Deal With Insurance Should You “Not Return Home”
By now we’ve completed a number of posts on the importance of traveling with international travel medical insurance. But we’ve yet to talk about repatriation of remains. And honestly, it’s not something people like to talk about. It’s not something people even like to think about. But lying in bed that night in Alaska, I did start to think about it.
At first I wondered how long it would take the hotel staff to find us if we weren’t to wake up. Then I wondered what the hell would happen next.
I certainly didn’t want to be buried in Alaska or left for the bears, and obviously the costs and logistics of preparing and returning a set of remains to Australia would end up being an additional burden on my family.
Repatriation of Remains Benefit
Repatriation of remains is a benefit of insurance which is pretty straight forward. This benefit allows individuals to prepare for the worst and is designed to cover the costs associated with returning your body to your home country if you were to pass away.
Morbid, yes, but when I contacted my insurer at GeoBlue for information, they informed me that “this is actually a subject that most people simply do not want to talk about but it does happen more than you would think, especially in the Senior Community. It is a sad benefit to have to deliver but it does happen.”
Luckily, unlike terrorism coverage, the benefit for repatriation of remains will usually already be included in your travel insurance plan. Though as with every other post we’ve composed on insurance to date, I urge you to ALWAYS read the fine print of your policy, and make sure you’re aware of the benefits and exclusions which are associated with your policy.
This type of benefit generally will not cover the transportation of anyone accompanying the body, nor will it cover burial or funeral expenses.
Why You Need Travel Medical Insurance
We’re really pushing this point hard, that everyone should be traveling with international medical coverage. It’s important to remember that we’re not invincible while traveling abroad, and the stupidest thing you can ever do is to think it will never happen to you.
We interviewed a frequent adventure traveler who broke his back on a pleasure cruise through the Amazon, and a woman who was fire twirling in Thailand when she set herself alight. One traveler lost his vision on a river cruise of the Rhine, and another found herself receiving stitches after an Asian air-conditioning unit decided to attack.
There are many, many reasons you should purchase health insurance when traveling abroad, the most obvious being to protect yourself should disaster strike, though we’re reaching a stage where international travel medical coverage is becoming a necessity, and depending on the country you travel to, you may not even have a choice.
The question of how important it is to obtain repatriation of remains insurance coverage is answered every time someone travels. Though nobody wishes to be critically injured during their stay, what could be a frightening situation can be smoothed over when the situation has been prepared for ahead of time by traveling proper insurance.
If you haven’t yet purchased international travel health insurance, do yourself a favor and make sure you do. We go through Timothy Jennings at Individual Health for insurance with GeoBlue – a worldwide insurer who offer the most complete set of benefits and services in the industry (including repatriation of remains).
For more information on insurance with GeoBlue contact Tim Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org or click for a free quote.
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