You've probably never (yet!) kept your mobile phone dry in a monsoon by slipping it into an unlubricated condom. You may not (yet!) need to know the cardinal rules of driving in sand and snow. When it's best to be prepared -- take the experienced advice from a guy who knows. James Shepherd-Barron has helpfully woven the sage and priceless advice that has helped him survive amidst catastrophe and chaos all around the world into a clever new survival handbook.
In person and experience -- James Shepherd-Barron is a mix of James Bond, MacGyver and the "Most Interesting Guy in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials. I heard his British accent echoing just seconds before I caught sight of him. This posh voice belonged to a man sporting a mane of wet silvery hair and a bright orange bathrobe. This may sound like any other day in London but, that it was midnight in the main tent of a UN logistics base in Haiti and that he and his team were discussing water purification for the relief camps of Port au Prince before heading to his camp-bed after a full day of relief efforts, elevated this chance encounter firmly into the surreal. James fits no one's mental idea of a typical aid worker.
At this time, in this place, I was part of a core emergency response team that had arrived after the January 12, 2010 earthquake and was expanding by the day. We had just returned from dinner at "The Deck," our local canteen on the military base.
James Shepherd-Barron's reputation preceded him -- 20 years of emergency response and over 32 countries under his belt, a former army helicopter pilot, and with more tales of disaster and adventure than Indiana Jones. He is the author of a new sharp-witted and very practical survival guide called Everything that Follows is Based on Recent, Real-Life Experience That Has Been Proven to Work.
With my experiences traveling in developing countries for work and pleasure, there are more than a few instances where I would have felt safer if this book had been in my backpack. It's not everyday that one has to negotiate with a warlord or escape from gunfire but if you are on Safari in the Masai Mara, trekking the Himalyas, engaging in some heli-skiing in Whistler -- or just living vicariously -- this is the book for you.
James's book is called Everything That Follows Is Based On Recent, Real-life Experience That Has Been Proven To Work. I call it "My Essential Deep Field Survival Guide."