Travelling is always a bit intimidating, a bit different. It’s not easy, but overall, I’d say most of us feel the mild risks are worth the wildly rewarding gains. But what can you do when dangerous travel options accost you from every angle? Might it be a better idea to stay home and wait out the storm?
This is for anyone who has ever asked this question about dangerous travel. Anyone who has ever postponed or canceled their lifelong dream-trip because something scary happened nearby. Anyone who refers to government safety ratings of countries first and foremost, before even looking at the scenery. This article is for every time you’ve avoided experiences because of a nagging ‘what if’ in the back of your mind. For the love of everything wild and beautiful, magical and filled with awesome revelations: please, don’t skip the trip.
The World Is A Scary Place
There are some heavy things happening in the world right now. Humanity feels like a forgotten relic of the past. Mother Nature is rearing her head and biting back. Bombings, mass shootings, cars driving into crowds of peaceful protesters and tourists. It’s terrifying, it’s heartbreaking, it’s infuriating. Groups of radicals collect together to spread hatred and fear. Their pokers of violence stoke the restless fires beneath our hearts. Natural disasters, meanwhile, ravage the world. As many as 100 people are dead following an earthquake near Sichuan, a remote Chinese province. Floods in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh leaves millions affected and over 800 dead. Sierra Leone’s capital city of Freetown has been devastated by a mudslide the size of a really big mountain. The Western world has remained eerily silent.
By no means is this argument meant to trivialize any of the hardships that my fellow human beings have been made to suffer through. If staying home would help a father get his son back from a mudslide or a mass-shooting, I would stay. If shutting the windows would stop the fear-mongering news channels from spewing prejudice, I would live in darkness. But it won’t. If giving up on my dreams would deliver antibiotics and clean water to those who need it, I would. But it just won’t do any good, except to spread and multiply fear and suspicion.
There Are Ways To Combat The Fear
It is, therefore, vital that we push back against this way of thinking. We must question everything with thoughtful criticism. We, loving globetrotting citizens that we are, must continue to explore all of the places on our bucket list. It is our responsibility to do this while remaining respectful of the culture and tragedies that may have taken place there. We must capture the moments that change our lives without ruining the art, and challenge the pervading sense of “dangerous travel”. Above all else, we must take the path less taken without dismantling the delicate balance of life that we are treading on.
Fear is the driving force behind our missed opportunities. It is fear that terrorists and hate groups would like to impress on us more than anything. But if we let that happen, if we kneel down and bend over and hide, they win.
It starts, in a small part, with staying intelligently informed. Nourishing that little part of your soul that feels responsible for the well-being of others. Asking difficult or uncomfortable questions, because no one else is asking them. That means paying equal attention to tragedies that occur in non-English speaking countries, as those that occur in English speaking countries. It means absorbing as much as you can, because you must.
Keep On Keeping On
Responsible traveling has never been more important than it is now. As a unit, the wanderlusters, the travel-buggers, the globe-trotting people of the planet must come together. The fear of dangerous travel cannot be a reason to skip the potential trip of a lifetime.
Travel for quality of experience, for opportunities to grow and expand your horizons, for life. Don’t travel simply to take a picture, or get a few hundred extra followers on Instagram, or to check another location off that bucket list without so much as looking around.
Above all, stay informed, educated, and aware of the very real, very tragic events that are happening all over the world. Tread carefully in places which may have been recently rocked by pain or injury, but tread nonetheless.
Latest posts by Helen Hatzis (see all)