PHOTO: World travel and peace can go hand-in-hand. (photo via Flickr/Karyn Christner)
Between the terrorist attack in Barcelona and the mortal counter-protests in Charlottesville, the last two weeks have been a rather bizarre set for me to be traveling away from the States.
Add in the fact that just this last week I was onboard Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s Joie de Vivre visiting the once war-torn beaches of Normandy, France, and I have had an even more peculiar perspective from which to draw from.
Of course, it all started hearing the news that protesters had descended upon the Virginia city in an outcry over the removal of a confederate statue. But as we quickly found out, it was a march filled with far more racist white supremacist hatred.
Neo-Nazis spoke out vehemently against Jews, and everything came to a head when a car rammed a group of counter-protesters—one of which was devastatingly killed.
Then I visited Normandy, a site from World War II where allied forces fought Germans on the shores of occupied France. This is the first time I had ever toured this region, and I quickly had a sobering realization:
Years ago, Americans died here fighting Nazis abroad, and now, Americans are once again dying fighting Nazis but on our own soil.
Only adding to international racial tensions was later another deadly vehicular attack on Las Ramblas tourist district in Barcelona, Spain by ISIS. This is an area I have visited before, but what hits closer to home is an even crazier fact:
The sole American killed is the cousin of my wife’s friend. You always hear of stories of close connections, but this is the closest it has ever come before.
All of this is simply heartbreaking to me!
I am a frequent international traveler, and nothing will ever keep me down. But I am still sad.
READ MORE: Peace, Love And Travel
One of the greatest blessings of travel is an understanding of other cultures and welcoming of diverse beliefs, and by all means an acceptance of all people from every race and creed.
What the world needs now is love. It’s not just a cliche.
And we need leadership to help seek it. It is so disheartening to see how President Trump has teeter-tottered in his response to Charlottesville. There can be no question that there is no place for racism and hate in the United States nor anywhere in the world. That the rest of us must at least surely comprehend and fully embrace because it is up to us now.
As world travelers, we are ambassadors of our country and ambassadors of the shared human race. We must love one another here and abroad, always and forever. That is the only defense against historic and current hate and terrorism, whether racially or culturally based.
I am hurting now. You are likely hurting now. But, we can all come out of this much stronger than before, and travel can be the catalyst.
Let our travels teach us. Let our travels inspire us. Let our travels bring us closer as a global loving community.
This post first appeared on TravelPulse.