While not exactly focused on cruising, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss a topic I hear a lot about lately: traveling with the threat of terrorism.
The recent terror attacks in Egypt, Beirut, Paris, and Istanbul have been prevalent in our media and thoughts over the last month. They are what they are – terrifying. Terror attacks are meant to scare us, to change us, to make us think twice about our daily lives. For those traveling, these attacks make many double guess or even cancel their trips. I know I’m not the first to say this is wrong, but I’m here to lend my perspective.
For those who know me, you know traveling runs in my blood. It literally is my entire life. It’s what I do in my free time, it’s my career, and it’s my passion. I can’t imagine a life without travel. Can you imagine how boring it would be to never leave your immediate living area? The thought scares me. Many of my family members and friends, unfortunately, don’t understand the allure and benefits of travel. Many question why I don’t “settle down and live a real life.” My response? I am living, you’re not. After the events in the last month, many of them have sworn off travel for good – they claim it’s too dangerous, too risky, too stupid. This saddens me.
Travel, like everything we do in our lives, does carry an element of risk. At the end of the day, the decision to face these terror threats and risks come down to who you are as a person. Are you someone who immediately surrenders and hides under the sheets? Are you the type of person to cancel an entire trip out of fear? Or are you the type of person to stand up, confirm your ticket, and jump on a plane to what many would consider a “risky” destination? I choose to be the latter. I did it two weeks ago. Against the negativity and opposition from a few family and friends, I jumped on my flight to Istanbul. Of course, many raised the issue of Daesh in the region, the possibility of me being kidnapped, and the risk of wearing an orange jumpsuit, being executed on video. I rolled my eyes. My thoughts? “You people are scared of the world.” I tend to ignore these ridiculous claims and fears, because they are fears. Yes, these horrible things do happen. Guess what else happens every day at a much higher frequency? Car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and choking. Why should a fear stop me from living my life, from exploring, from adventuring? A life ruled by fear is boring and stupid. I like life with a little danger. Life without danger or risks isn’t a life.
What I’m saying is, don’t be boring and stupid. Don’t let evil people control your life. The whole point of terrorism is to terrify and to force us to change the way we live. Don’t let the terrorists win. Don’t let the fear take control. Live life like we are meant to. We aren’t built for comfort, we’re built to push ourselves as far as we can go. For some, that means taking that trip to London this spring, taking that cruise to the Arabian Gulf, or even traveling to New York City for New Year’s Eve. For me, it means places like Tel Aviv, Tehran, Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, and Pyongyang are still high on my list of future trips.
Keep traveling, no matter what happens. The more we travel and live our lives, the more we push back against terrorism. I choose not to let terrorism direct my life, don’t let it direct yours.
We all have a favorite song, a song that speaks to us. For me, I Lived by One Republic speaks to my sense of wanderlust and adventure. I think these lyrics are a perfect way to remember what is important in a world gone mad: to live.
“I, I did it all,
I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did,
With every broken bone, I swear I lived.”