I've been putting on something of a brave face leading up to my trip overseas. I readily admit I watch too much cable news and much of what I've seen lately has given me more than a moment's pause to reconsider exactly how safe it is for me travel. Is it a good idea to visit Europe's biggest cities right now? Should I avoid tourist areas and sightseeing? Should I even go?
And then I get over it.
I never have more than a moment of doubt over my travel plans. If there's anyone who sustains their worry over my trip it's my mother. I get it. What mother wouldn't be worried when their child says they'll be in London in two weeks while CNN breaks in with news about another car plowing into a crowd? I won't pretend like there isn't any danger but I won't let it deter me from pursuing what has been a dream years in the making.
I've taken some solace from a travel book I'm currently re-reading for the fourth or fifth time. In "Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel," Rolf Potts writes:
"Should political violence or terrorism capture headlines, however, the secret to avoiding it is not to cancel your travel plans but to simply keep yourself informed. Just because the evening news shows unrest in a southern Lebanon refugee camp, for instance, doesn't necessarily mean it's dangerous to visit Beirut or Galilee (or, for that matter, other parts of southern Lebanon). By the same token, the evening news might habitually ignore the political situation in West Africa, but that doesn't mean it's safe to visit Sierra Leone or Liberia. Obviously, the, planning on monitoring your destinations will require that you look past the evening news."
So here's my promise to mother:
I will be careful. I will be mindful of my surroundings. I will leave a situation if I feel unsafe. I will keep you updated of my day to day plans as much as possible.
I will also have as much fun and see as many sights and meet as many people as possible all while adhering to the above promises.
I won''t let fear dictate where I go and what I do. I will stay informed and keep aware all while enjoying three months of overseas travel.
And I promise I'll try to call or text every day, mom.