To my fellow travelers,
Be cautious. Be Smart. But Keep Traveling.
Scrolling through your favorite travel blog and choosing where your next adventure will be is a far more existential process than it ever has been before. Hmmm…have I heard of a recent terrorist attack here? Oh, wait, isn’t that where I read about those gangs? I once heard they hate Americans. Lord, I guess I’ll just go to Tennessee. (No offense, Tennessee)
The truth is: you probably did hear that. The real truth: there are way MORE truths out there. And they are worth learning about.
If you are one to keep up with the news – or one to ever check your Facebook feed – you know that we (the world) are currently dealing with quite a lot of incidents that make us want to curl up in a ball and never leave the comfort of our bedrooms. Myself included.
But we need to keep traveling. This is how things will change. This is where we’ll meet people and see things that convince us the world is so worth living in and so full of really inspiring things. This is how misconceptions get broken and friendships get made. There are 7.5 billion people out there, 196 countries, 50,000 cities and I guarantee they all have a really cool story to tell.
So, how to get past this and keep going:
- take comfort in knowing you’re not the only one nervous. So is the State Department. And they have made a resource very helpful for checking on travel safety concerns: Travel Warnings & Alerts. Now, if you’re one prone to a “the-sky-is-falling” attitude, this list will seem overwhelming to you. And that’s okay. But read carefully, read where in the country the warning is for, and move forward.
- the “They hate Americans” generalization is a myth. If you smile and are interested in their culture, anyone in the world will adore you, even if it takes a couple cups of tea and a conversation before getting there. Be cognizant of our shared political past and keep movin’ on forward. Those who take these conversations head-on will find they are the most rewarding.
- Make personal contact with the people at the hotel (or b&b or non-profit or university) before your trip. Speaking with locals in the hospitality industry is sure to ease any concerns you may have – and I guarantee they will be willing to help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even the hard hitting ones.
- Be smart! Be observant of things going on around you, have a place you feel safe, and then go on and conquer the world! In a nice, respectful way, I mean.
There are a lot of things we can find to be afraid of — and certainly there are times where we need to hold off on a trip for a few months – but embracing your love of travel and continuing to make these connections with the world will slowly but surely make a change for the better. Now uncurl yourself from that ball and do something positive!
Your fellow adventurer,
My World Travel