The family of a New York man who went missing two weeks ago while traveling through Central and South America on motorcycle is reaching out for help finding him.
Harry Devert was 44 days into a motorcycle trip when he last contacted his girlfriend on January 25, according to CNN. Upon leaving a bed and breakfast in the southwest Mexican state of Michoacan he texted her that he needed a military escort due to the danger of road travel in the area.
"Just got an hour and a half long escort out of some area it was too dangerous for me to be," the message read. "... Apparently there's another military escort waiting for me in some other town... I'm running way late because of the crazy military stuff...hopefully get a chance to talk to you tonight when I (hopefully) finally arrive."
Devert, an experienced traveler who has spent five years traveling the globe, hasn't been heard from since leaving Michoacan. He was on his way to the Mexican state of Zihuatanejo to see the beach where the final scene of The Shawshank Redemption was filmed.
A Facebook page dedicated to gathering information on Devert has been set up.
Even if you aren't traveling through a particularly hazardous area, safety and planning are paramount while on a road trip, especially if you're abroad. Follow these tips to stay out of harm's way:
There is power in numbers. Avoid solo travel as much as possible. A crowd can deter car jackers, scam artists and highwaymen along your way. If you're traveling by yourself, make sure to have a reliable connection to a friend or family member.
Obey the laws. You don't want to avoid the criminals just to run into a crooked cop or an antiquated legal system. Know the laws where you're traveling and followed them to the letter. Dangerous countries often have over-burdened courts, which lead to long judicial processes. If you are abroad and are arrested, make your one phone call to the U.S. Embassy.
Plan an itinerary, and then stick to it. Part of the joy of travel is the chance to wander new paths. If you're in a dangerous area, however, it's best to suppress your adventurous side and make a beeline straight to your destination. A friend or family member should already know where you're going and when you're supposed to arrive. Make sure to have an emergency strategy in place in case you don't make it to a planned destination.
Have someone at home backing you up. If you fail to make it to a check-in point, have a designated person start calling hospitals, police stations and the closest Embassy alerting them to be on the look out. This person should have a recent photo of you and all your measurements and medical information.
Be travel-wise. Don't just wander into another country and start knocking about. Do the research and know the lay of the land. Which places are dangerous and should be avoided? What are scams and hazardous situations to be aware of? Make sure to be well-versed in the current traveler's warnings and alerts issued by the State Department and always listen to your instincts.