By now, just about everyone has heard of the terrorist attacks, and follow-up para-military police actions, in Paris, Brussels, Israel, Beirut, and Mali amongst other places.
The headlines scream of violence and fear mongering and downright sensationalism.
Is it safe to travel? Is it safe to leave your home? Is it safe, period.
As someone who writes about travel, I have been getting this question a lot lately. Especially by those who are planning a trip but are now thinking of canceling it.
I’m planning a trip. I’m planning an extended trip that will include Paris, Brussels and Israel.
And I can’t wait.
Terrorist attacks, like airline crashes, make the news. They make the news big time. Hours are devoted to them. They increase the audience because, like the plethora of horror films being filmed, many of us want to be scared. We want to have something to fear. (Sadly, this fear can also turn to hate. Just listen to some of our Presidential candidates. But that’s a subject I’m not going to broach.)
Unlike horror films, attacks of terrorism and airline crashes are extremely rare. We hear about them, and a big deal is made about them, because they are so rare. And they play into the news media’s desire for sensationalism. Sensationalism is entertaining. When it’s entertaining more people watch. And when more people watch, more can be charged for commercials. (I should know. I was a TV journalist many years ago. Whether or not we kept our jobs all depended on the ratings.)
A handful of sensible, intelligent people I know are now telling me they’re reconsidering their travel plans outside the U.S. because it isn’t “safe.” One, who will travel overseas, says she just won’t go anywhere there are Muslims.
Good luck with that.
A few weeks ago we had daily shootings on college campuses throughout the U.S. Does that mean people should quit school because of it?
When I tell my friends where I’m going they look at me as if I’m crazy (Okay, crazier than they normally think I am.)
But I’m not going to Syria or Yemen or even Mali. I’m not going somewhere there’s a war going on. I’m going to France. It’s not exactly the Sudan. Twenty years ago I was in London when an IRA bomb went off. It hasn’t stopped me from visiting one of my favorite cities.
I hope if any of you are planning trips outside your home countries you aren’t letting these current events stop you from going. It’s important to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, but staying home in fear means the bad guys win…..and you lose.
And remember, when you do travel, pack light. (Sorry, I had to get that in.)