Photo: Ed Yourdon

This is not an attempt at fear mongering, just a simple reminder to be careful.

As a Canadian living in Melbourne, the recent death of Canadian backpacker Cain Aguiar hit a little too close to home. The rising level of violence in this city, both in frequency and severity, is cause for concern.

It seems standard now to open the Monday newspaper only to read about a big brawl, bottling, or stabbing leading to hospitalized victims and worse, as in this case, ending in death. Last week Cain, while drinking by himself at a local pub, was attacked by three men, allegedly because he was talking to a woman known by the three accused.

As Cain lay in a hospital bed on life support, his sister set up a Facebook group for others to join and offer their support and well wishes. Unfortunately, the group theme had to be changed from “hope” to “rest in peace” when the family made the impossibly difficult decision to turn off the life support.

Remember, you’re not at home

While this sort of thing can easily happen at home too, it’s safe to say that we are more vulnerable on the road. We don’t really know the area we are in, we don’t know the culture, and we let our guard down a little. After all, we are supposed to be relaxed, having a good time and trying new things.

The case of Australian Britt Lapthorne, who was found murdered in Croatia late last year, serves as an example where “toning it down” would probably have led to much different results. Partying it up and getting out of hand is one thing at home, but abroad it’s a whole different ball of wax, where we stand out and can be more easily taken advantage of.

When you’re in a foreign country, be aware of your surroundings and err on the side of caution. We’re not invincible.

Safe travels everyone.