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My Incredible Survival Story From My First Solo Trip Abroad And What I Learned

Photo of My Incredible Survival Story From My First Solo Trip Abroad And What I Learned 1/2 by Prateek Dham
Good times changed into bad times in no time.

Having graduated from an engineering college, I have always known a thing or two about having a good time. Fast forward eight years though, and I found out the hard way that with age comes greater responsibilities, and the sooner one realises it the better. Life is uncertain and it’s best to be prepared for tomorrow, especially when you have a family.

I know I'm preaching, but once you hear what happened to me on my recent trip to Europe, you will understand why. Read on for my story and a chance to learn from my mistakes.

The wild times

Photo of My Incredible Survival Story From My First Solo Trip Abroad And What I Learned 2/2 by Prateek Dham
Prague, Paris, Venice – the dream that cost me a lot

First, a bit of context and backstory. I am a 30-year-old-man who married his long time girlfriend two years ago and had a baby boy in September 2017. I work in a travel and hospitality setup in Delhi and so am required to travel out of station at least once a month. It's a mundane job, but it pays well so I stuck with it for over four years.

In October 2017, I had to attend a client conference in Prague, Czech Republic. I was extremely excited because a Euro-trip had been a lifelong dream. I obviously wanted to take my wife along, but we both decided that it would be too soon for our newborn baby. So she generously stayed behind with him.

My official work in Prague was done in two days, and I decided to extend my stay to explore this beautiful continent. My wife was also happy with the idea because she knew how much I loved travelling.

And by golly, did I NOT have the time of my life in Europe!

It was great to start with. In Prague, I visited unbelievable spires, drank the world's best beers by the lazy Vltava River, and spent my nights loitering around admiring the Bohemian architecture all over the city. I caught a train to Venice on the third night, where I was welcomed by a gondolier inviting me for a ride to my hotel on a gorgeous afternoon. The epic grandeur of the Grand Canal can hardly be described in words, but I could certainly admire it while sharing a beer with the locals in a bacaro (bar). The crimson sunset of the city was a sight to behold.

On the seventh morning of my trip, I boarded a flight to Paris. I was really excited about visiting the city of love. Paris was everything I had imagined and beyond. Yes, it's instantly familiar but there are still those subliminal nuances of the city that you won't ever find in any text or movie, such as the flea markets, second-hand atmospheric bookshops by the riverbanks, and the supremely-fashionable people. I obviously got a picture clicked in front of the majestic Eiffel Tower, as it is customary. Long story short, I had a wild time!

The times they are a-changin'

Found it outside a swanky nightclub in Prague; very situational.

Photo of My Incredible Survival Story From My First Solo Trip Abroad And What I Learned by Prateek Dham

I was supposed to fly out of Paris on October 17, but something happened on the 15th that changed my perception about life in general. I was attending a house party at a suburban flat in Paris when suddenly my inebriated self fell off the balcony and landed with a crash two floors down. I was rushed to the hospital by the friends I'd made, just a couple of days ago. I woke up on a hospital bed with my wife crying by my side. On looking at her, the feeling of despair was overshadowed by relief on finding out that I was alive and she was by my side. Miraculously, I had only suffered a hairline fracture in my ribs, but I spent many uncomfortable nights later thinking about what would have become of my family had something worse happened.

My wife and I flew back to India together and all we could talk about was how grateful we were that I was okay. One very important thing I silently realised was the fact that I was not actually a student anymore. I had a family, who I was responsible for and loved dearly.

Past's a glum mime but the future's mine

I have planned for my future. Have you?

Photo of My Incredible Survival Story From My First Solo Trip Abroad And What I Learned by Prateek Dham

I rejoined office soon after and one of the first things I did was look for a term insurance plan. For someone who doesn't understand, a term insurance is the most basic form of life insurance. Should anyone avail it, it will keep their family secure and financially independent even after their demise. They just need to pay a small premium regularly in lieu of a huge term cover for their family after their absence.

Reality had struck me and that too very hard. It's not that I wasn't aware of such policies in the past, it's just that I chose to ignore them. It's not that they weren't affordable, I just thought that nothing could happen to me. I finally realised that I was fooling myself.

After reading articles extensively on the internet, I shortlisted two insurance operators. On talking to their agents over the phone, I finally decided to meet the guy from ICICI Prudential Life Insurance. It's a reliable brand, and after discussing it with my wife, I bought a plan with an eventual term cover of ₹ 1 crore. By eventual term cover I mean that in the case of my untimely death, my wife and child will receive this pre-decided amount (called sum assured) as per the provisions of my protection plan.

It was after my eventful solo Euro-trip that I realised that in addition to the checklist of things to do before a trip, such as hotel bookings, flights, first aid, and others, I should have also prepared for the very worst. Without having to sound philosophical, life is our longest journey and hence requires the most complete planning for the future, today itself. In order to ensure that my family doesn't have to compromise on the lifestyle they enjoy while I'm alive, a term insurance plan is a good solution to meet their needs after I'm gone. So the next time you are going for a trip with or without your family, do remember that life is funny and uncertain.

You can check out ICICI Prudential's insurance plans here if you wish. Cheers to a healthy life ahead!

In association with ICICI Prudential.

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