The Brittney Griner

Maine Voices: Griner’s experience reminds us of the pitfalls of world travel


The Brittney Griner odyssey ought to be a wake-up name for any American traveler to a different nation, particularly for youngsters champing on the bit to check their maturity and freedom away from the constraints of oldsters and nation.

The WNBA star final week was sentenced to 9 years in a Russian penal colony for carrying vape cartridges containing lower than 1 gram of cannabis oil into Moscow.

To start out, it’s necessary to know the native legal guidelines of the place you’re visiting. Be ready to abide by them – as foolish as one might imagine they’re associated to at least one’s personal consolation zone in America.

I communicate from expertise as a frontrunner of youth journeys. On a couple of event, I needed to take care of some furry conditions involving a conflict of tradition and the pure adolescent inclination to stretch the foundations.

As a retired instructor and coach from a New England boarding faculty now residing in Topsham, I led scholar archaeology journeys to Central and South America throughout spring break, and in the summertime traveled with soccer groups to Jap Europe, Finland and the previous USSR.

I communicate from experiences that, had my prices been foolish sufficient to be concerned with testing sure worldwide requirements, may need bordered on worldwide incidents.

As soon as, in Mexico, my van load of eight college students was stopped on a  highway within the mountains close to Tuxtla by supposed “army” personnel with uniforms and weapons.

We have been ordered to unload our gear, empty our duffels and unfold every little thing out on the facet of the highway. They have been meticulously looked for no matter – medication, alcohol?

Discovering nothing, they left us to repack our baggage and be on our approach. That far off the overwhelmed path, who is aware of what the end result may need been had something irregular been discovered.

On a separate journey, one other favourite ploy by locals surfaced once we hit the seashores 60 miles south of Cancun. Considered one of our children, whereas having fun with the seaside, was approached by an area teenager and supplied one thing, most likely marijuana, for a small value.

The sport is that, if there’s a transaction, the native then goes to a purported “constable” and tells him in regards to the deal. The client is then questioned by the so-called “authority,” a purchase order is established and the customer is “detained.” Now, the mother or father or supervisor of the naïve American teenager is given a possibility to keep away from “prosecution” or embarrassment. Cash would possibly then need to quietly change fingers.

On a soccer journey in Russia, I actually was concerned in a state of affairs. I used to be requested to come back right into a room within the resort the place our crew was staying and was interrogated alongside an area road vendor with whom I’d been negotiating an trade of a jersey from my faculty for one from a Moscow skilled crew – a standard sufficient factor amongst groups and coaches on a world sports activities journey.

However this was Russia, and the query was whether or not the vendor had accepted U.S. {dollars}, which was very a lot towards Russian regulation at the moment. It was lastly ascertained that I had not truly acquired the jersey in query, though I may need in a unique state of affairs in a unique nation.

In the long run, I used to be sadly not allowed to maintain the jersey and mine was returned. I used to be lastly excused and had no thought what occurred to the opposite particular person.

The traveler ought to all the time keep in mind that we’re friends abroad, and we must always have some data of and appreciation for his or her legal guidelines, customs and practices in an effort to make the journey extra pleasing for either side. Youthful Individuals are generally seen as gullible and naïve and could be targets of the road economic system of many nations.

So a “bon voyage” as you make your approach across the globe this 12 months. Benefit from the meals, the tradition and the spirit of the host nation. And be understanding about, and respect, variations and expectations.


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