Traveling in a World of Terrorism

Paris view from the Arc De Triumph
Watching world events unfold, and the world of terrorism becoming a daily reality,  we cannot help be concerned about our safety as we are planning a year abroad.
However, do the recent attacks in Paris and beyond change our plans? Or our approach to travel? Rethink this entire trip? No. If anything, it just solidifies the extreme importance of travel for everyone.
Through travel, we get gain understanding. We gain perspective. We gain empathy.
I was deeply saddened when I heard about Beirut, Kenya and other areas that were victims of the recent attacks by the extremist group, ISIS. However, with Paris, I wept. For days. My heart was in pain.
Not that the Pairs attacks could be qualified as worse, or that their loss of life was more devastating than anywhere else, it’s just that I’ve walked the streets of Paris. I’ve fallen in love with the buildings, sidewalks, culture, and the people. I have a personal connection there.
What if more people also had those personal connections to places all over the world?

 

When we consider travel in this day and age, safety is always an important consideration. And when such unpredictable events like this take place where it is not common, it causes worry and it causes challenges.
What happens if there is an attack in the country you are visiting? What if they are attacking or targeting Americans *of insert any other race, nationality here* ? Won’t that be terrifying? What if you can’t get home? What if I need medical assistance? What will happen? in paris view from the arc de triomphe
Truthfully, as careful as we can plan for any situation, some you just cannot be prepared for. Yes, get traveler’s insurance. Yes, know if the countries you are visiting are undergoing any political or violent struggles before you visit by checking your country’s travel advisories.  But after that? You just have to take the plunge and go.
Truth be told, I don’t feel much safer in the United States.
I’m saddened by the fact that our own country feels like it’s under attack daily from ourselves. Attacks by our own citizens are causing fear and panic. Mass shootings have become a daily occurrence. Not just gun deaths, MASS shootings. My heart aches for my own country as well. How could I feel any safer staying in Seattle than I would in Paris?
I was living in New York City during 9/11. I’ve felt under attack. And what I remember the most during that time was the way the city came together afterwards. They rose from the fear, and just wanted to help. They wanted to heal. It was truly incredible thing to be a apart of. A city that felt utterly helpless during the attacks to creating a 4 hour wait time to donate blood at every hospital. Supply drop off locations popped up all over the city collecting things in need. Cheers for firetrucks and police cars rang out as they drove past in respect and recognition of the Statue of liberty and sailboat difficult task they had to rebuild a broken city.  People were the most empathetic I have ever seen. You made eye contact with everyone who passed  you as you didn’t know if that person just lost a friend or family member.  New Yorkers, otherwise known for their shortness and gruff attitudes cared more for one another during a time when it would have been all too easy to hide in fear. Around the rest of the country, there were people driving to NYC to lend a hand. People were stoping whatever was going on in their lives to come to help. And THAT is how I choose to think of mankind. People will come together and choose action and unity over fear.  I had planned to fly home only days after 9/11 for a visit, and was fortunate that the airlines had opened back up for my travel date. People asked if I would cancel my trip home because of the events. Wouldn’t I be scared to fly at such a time?  The only thing that really scared me, was that my actions would forever be decided by someone else’s hate. That I would have to live in fear. I had a choice.  I chose to get on that (empty) plane. I chose not to be afraid.

10 Comments

  • Thanks for sharing. I feel very much the same way in that any city “abroad” is no less dangerous than being in the USA. I think we should continue to live and travel as we desire and not like fear overtake us. Thanks for your honest post 🙂

  • Janet says:

    Although I did not share your experiences, your message, beautifully written, expresses my sentiments. Thanks so much Danielle!!

  • Hey Danielle! Thanks for writing this. And thanks for being an amazing person who won’t let fear rule their life. Rock on! Great minds, eh? Haha 😉

    • Danielle says:

      Awww, thanks so much. Great minds absolutely! I feel that it’s getting to be so important to share personal stories from around the globe and travel bloggers are up to the challenge. 🙂

  • Dan says:

    Really beautifully written and I love the message. I have just finished interviewing my Gran (haha, of all people) Who did Egypt and Jordan in her 60’s and she has exactly the same attitude.

    We can be scared, or else we can’t even go home!

  • Karyn Jane says:

    “The only thing that really scared me, was that my actions would forever be decided by someone else’s hate. That I would have to live in fear. I had a choice. I chose to get on that (empty) plane. I chose not to be afraid.”

    WOW. This got me so hard. What a strong statement. You are absolutely right. We cannot let the hatred of others dictate our actions or encourage us to live in fear. It only gives them our power.

    • Danielle says:

      It’s all about living the life you want and that’s available to you. Thanks for reading! I’m glad it struck a chord. 🙂

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