The time inevitably comes when moving on looks good. Sometimes it's sooner, sometimes later but eventually the balance tilts and moving on starts to look attractive. I've got maybe 10 years of a career left and using my skills to get me a plane ticket to places I've never been seems like a good option - so long as I get to spend plenty of time back home in between times with The Dear Handbrake. Of course there's places I'd go to happily and other places which I may have gone to 30 years ago but I'd probably steer clear of now. So I put out a few feelers. Mauritania and Guinea presented themselves as early options so I checked the Governments Smart Traveller web-site to get some basic info...
- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Mauritania because of the high threat of terrorist attack. We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
- Recent credible reports indicate that terrorists may be planning to kidnap foreigners, including Australians travelling between Mauritania and Morocco or who may be close to the Mauritania / Mali border, and to conduct attacks against oil facilities in Mauritania.
- We continue to receive reports of planned activities such as kidnapping by Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). We advise Australians to heighten their awareness and use caution, and also to take increased security precautions when in their homes or cars and watch for any suspicious or unusual activity.
- Armed men fired on the Israel embassy compound in the capital Nouakchott on 1 February 2008. Three people were wounded when the same gunmen fired on a nearby nightclub frequented by foreigners.
- In December 2007, four French tourists were murdered in the Aleg region, close to the border with Senegal and three Mauritanian military personnel were killed in a clash with gunmen believed to be linked to AQIM. Security considerations led the organisers of the Paris-Dakar Rally 2008 to cancel this year's event.
- We strongly advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Guinea at this time due to the unpredictable security situation.
- If you do decide to travel to Guinea, you should exercise extreme vigilance at all times. If you are in Guinea and concerned for your safety, you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.
- Police officers began a strike on 16 June 2008. This strike is the second major disturbance by security forces in less than a month. Violent clashes between the military and striking police officers have been reported.
- You should avoid unnecessary travel to areas near police or military bases. If you are in an affected area, you should find a safe location, remain indoors and heed local advice. You should continue to closely monitor local information sources for information about possible safety and security risks.
- The airport could close without notice and flights may be cancelled or postponed. Australians intending to travel should confirm with their airline the latest situation on flights.
Back to the drawing board then.