It seems that this past year has been the year of terror in our world. Forget about global warming sending us into an apocalypse, there are crazy people on this planet that just want to beat mother nature to it. Next week will be the six-month mark since we left home for an indefinite life on the road. Besides spending six weeks in Morocco, we have traveled through Europe the entire time.
The first wave of terror hit us the night we landed in Istanbul on November 13, the night of the Paris attacks. I won’t deny that we were rocked. I distinctly remember the eerie feeling between our group as we walked down the crowded and infamous Istiklal street at night.
Our parents were scared for us, we were nervous in crowded places, and you could feel the tension from the locals as just simple “bangs” from wheelbarrows made everyone jump. Despite this, we caught up with old Turkish friends, straddled two continents at once, and relived old memories in one of our favorite big cities. After 10 days, we left Istanbul and continued to travel Turkey for another four weeks. If I had given into terror and fear right then I would have never realized that Turkey is one of my most favorite countries in the world.
Then on January 12th, 2016 it happened again. We were waiting for our flight from Rome to Marrakech and heard of the Istanbul bombing that killed 13 people. We were shaken once again, but it was not going to stop us from getting on that flight to Morocco a predominately Muslim country.
We traveled this Northern Africa country for six more weeks, and never once did I feel endangered. Now, today brings yet another act of terror. I could go on and list all of the awful and atrocious attacks that happened this year, but that’s what you have the media for. The point is I am not going to let fear affect my dream to travel the world.
I am from gun nation
I am from the U.S., and as much as I love certain aspects of my country, there is no denying that we have a serious gun problem. There were 372 mass shootings in America in 2015. So why is everyone telling me that I will be safer on my home turf? According to the CDC, 25-34 year olds are more likely to die from a homicide than heart disease. Now, that’s scarier than terrorism. Just a few weeks ago a crazy Uber driver went on a killing spree, and shot six people in a city that is 45 minutes from my hometown.
I have a higher chance of being sexually assaulted
Statistically speaking, I have quite a high chance of being raped or sexually assaulted in my life. This has been a worldwide issue for decades, but the fear of this does not keep women from leaving their bedroom every morning and going about their everyday lives. I have a 1 in 9,300,000 chance of dying in a terrorist attack. So why should I let the fear of terrorism keep me from traveling any more than the fear of being a woman?
There is too much good in the world
On a more lighthearted note, there is just too much kindness on this planet to let those few bad apples ruin my experiences. No matter what preconceived notions I have about a country when I arrive, I leave them at the door. Are all Muslim countries dangerous? No. Is South America scary for solo female travelers? Not that I experienced. Throughout my travels, I would say that 99% of the locals I meet are friendly, engaging, and invite me into their homes with open arms.
I will not give into terrorists
The main reason I will keep on traveling is because I will not give into terrorism. That is exactly what they want – for people to give into their fear tactics. They want us to overreact, to blame the refugees, and to fear boarding airplanes. When I woke up and heard the news of the Brussels attack today, I jumped on social media and saw that many people were reconsidering their travel plans this year. In the wake of yet another tragedy, I urge everyone not to give into fear and cancel their long deserved vacations.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to go hop on the next flight to Syria, or travel to any notably dangerous country. For anyone that knows me, they know I am not one to throw myself into any kind of danger. I will continue to take control over what I actually can control. I will look twice while crossing a busy street, stay sober while traveling alone, and avoid sketchy areas after dark.