“Don’t go to Belgium, it’s not safe in Belgium” a work colleague advises over lunch. Her advice is sincere and she has good intentions, but I can’t help but feel annoyed by it. Should we really avoid any destinations deemed unsafe by the media?
With new terrorist attacks constantly occurring it’s easy to feel like the sections of the world which are safe to visit are quickly shrinking. Destinations once considered to be popular tourist destinations-Paris, Turkey, Brussels- are now tainted with fear and tragedy, associated in our minds with heartbreaking news articles and the thought “that could be us”. It’s natural to fear this looming unknown, this persistent idea of “what if”. But, in a way, if give in to this fear, if we cut ourselves off from other countries, from other cultures, aren’t we letting the terrorists win?
I won’t lie, the world is brimming with countries I’m afraid to travel to-places with less rights for women, places with wildlife that could kill me, places on the edge of war. But equally I fear staying in one place for ever, I feel that by limiting ourselves to our own country, our own culture, our own food and language we are allowing our lives to be less brilliant. We are settling for less experience, less excitement, less understanding of the world around us. Yes, it is scary to visit somewhere when we know there is risk involved. But in all realism, isn’t there more risk involved in driving to work in the morning? No where is safe anymore. We saw this in Sydney, we saw it in Paris, we saw it in Boston. But if I’m going to die anywhere I’d rather die exploring the world and living my dreams than living in fear in my own home.