Why Terrorism Won’t Stop Me From Traveling

Terrorism is a real threat in our lives, but letting terrorists change our behavior is how they win. This is why terrorism won't stop me from traveling.

I know I’ve been kind of quiet on the blog the past couple of weeks and things have been relatively hectic and I’ll definitely get into that in another post. This blog has never been a place where I wanted to share posts about serious or political issues, however, in light of what happened in Brussels on Tuesday and what has been happening in our world in general I feel like this is something I can no longer ignore. This is our reality and we should talk about it.

As some of you may know I studied abroad in Brussels and so it is somewhere very close to my heart. It’s where I discovered my love for travel and for other cultures and where I really began to learn things about myself I never knew before. Watching the tragedy unfold on Tuesday morning made me sick. I still have friends there who I of course was concerned about, but more to the point, I was sick to my stomach that once again there are people in this world who’s existence is to simply hurt and terrorize other innocent humans. The people who died and were injured on Tuesday were people just going about their daily lives. Going to work. Going on a business trip. Maybe even trying to visit loved ones. This kind of terrorism makes me furious, but it’s also not the point of this post.

As terrorism has become increasingly more common, as sickening as it is to admit, there has become a collective belief that we should try and be extra safe, be really careful and to stop traveling to unknown places. I get it. It’s a scary time and we want to protect ourselves and protect our loved ones. We’ll do anything we can to make ourselves feel safe again, even if it’s not the most logical thing to do and even if, in reality, it won’t make any difference.

Every time I travel somewhere more often than not the response I receive is to “stay safe” or “be careful.” While I understand and appreciate the sentiment, the implication is that normally I’m not safe and I don’t take the necessary precautions to protect myself in my travels. I understand sometimes it’s something that’s just said, but the harsh reality is that no one is “safe” anymore.

Paris and Brussels are viewed as first world, very successful, wealthy cities and yet both have been victims to heinous acts of terrorism which has led to the deaths of dozens and dozens of people. I’m not trying to be morbid and I don’t want to scare anyone, but the reality is if you’re going to tell me to be safe when I travel to Bangkok, New York or even London, then by extension you need to tell me to be safe when I walk across the street to get a loaf of bread, or when I get on the U-Bahn to go to work. The sad truth is that it’s about being in the wrong place at the wrong time and this is one of many reasons why terrorism won’t stop me from traveling.

Paralyzing us and fear is how terrorists win. They win by making us change our lifestyles because of what might happen. They win when we choose to forego an opportunity because of the what ifs. They win every time someone says “stay safe.” When we think about them and are afraid they’re winning. I won’t let that fear change my life. I won’t miss amazing opportunities because that is exactly what they want. And, unfortunately, I’m no safer at home than I am in Kuala Lumpur, Mexico or Bali.

People have died from terrorism in Boston, in New York, in London, in Paris, in Brussels. Living in fear won’t make you safer and traveling somewhere different doesn’t make you more susceptible to an attack. There is so much good in the world and it’s important to remember that terrorists only make up a small percentage. There are kind-hearted and wonderful people in every country and by working to build bridges with these other cultures we’re spreading positivity, understanding and love rather than hate.

That’s the best way to combat terrorists. Work to understand other cultures and get to know the locals. Share stories, bond and be positive. Nothing good will come of fear and worry and it certainly isn’t going to make you any safer.

At the end of the day, your chances of being in a terrorist attack are minuscule and you’re more likely to end up being crushed by your TV than being killed or injured by a bomb. Don’t give into the fear and hate. Don’t stop experiencing new cultures and building bridges and understanding across continents, because that’s the best way we can win.

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  • amotherworld

    You are absolutely right. The world is a different place, but we can’t live our lives in fear. I still plan on travelling this year.

    • I’m so glad you are! That’s the best way we can combat terrorism. We should continue living our lives the way we want to.

  • Hannah. This is such a brilliant post; I shared. ! I was just talking to Trevor about this the other day about how we can’t be scared to go abroad because of terrorism. If we bow down to their fear; THEY WIN!!!!!!! Love your fearlessness and your heart. So awesome that you studied in Brussels!

    • Thanks so much, Chelsea! It’s so important to not be afraid to go abroad and I know that it’s hard, but living in fear is not going to make us any safer. Therefore we should still see all of the wonderful things the world has to offer!

  • This is a wonderful and timely post … I hope it finds a lot of readers. Your message is an important one.

    • Thank you, Trish! I hope that people understand that they should still be living life the way they want to. The most important message is to just KEEP living.

  • I so agree with what you said about just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was planning a trip to Paris when the attacks there happened and people asked me if I was still going to go. Of course I was – sadly we have things that happen in this country all the time. I’m not going to stop going to the movies because there was a shooting in a theater, or pull my kids (if I had them) out of school just because there have been incidents there.

    • That’s exactly how I feel, Becky. I think something a lot of people do is they see a big attack in another country and therefore it feels scarier and more foreign, therefore that place seems a lot more dangerous than home, when, as you say, stuff like that happens at home all the time. We all just need to keep living our lives, regardless of the fear we might feel.

  • Candy Kage

    There are still certain countries I won’t go to, all in all hasn’t stopped me from traveling. Just much more alert and aware.

    • I understand that, Candy. There are some countries that I don’t think I’d like to go to either, but you’re right the most important things are to be much more alert and aware, no matter where you are.

  • Dana Brillante-Peller

    I’m glad you wrote about this, and am with you on your stance about terrorism not stopping your travels. We are scheduled to go to Hong Kong in April and I am not canceling either!

    • I’m glad to hear that, Dana! Have fun in Hong Kong, that’ll be amazing!

  • It’s a really tough thing, but I agree. You can’t hide your whole life, you need to keep on living and doing the things you dream of.

    • Yeah, exactly, Rachel. You can’t just live in fear because that’ll get you nowhere.

  • Veronica Pototska

    This is exactly the question I received today, about if I am not afraid to travel by plane and all the terrorist attacks, and my answer was similar to yours. There are so many chances to be hit by a car and etc, but we still go outside to do things we like.

    • I’m glad to hear that, Veronica! We still need to live our lives in the face of it.

  • Adriana

    I love love love this post, so much. I’m obsessed with traveling and for the past year or so, it’s been so scary for me and gives me such anxiety. I didn’t even go away for spring break like I was supposed to because I was so afraid of flying – especially alone – to get to my friends in the south. It all makes me so sick and the fact that not nearly enough is being done about it is even worse, but giving up the things we love is purely giving in to what they want. It’s easier said than done, but I absolutely loved this post and I try so hard to just live my life but it gets so difficult when it comes down to actually going. XO

    • I know it’s hard Adriana, and I’m sorry that it’s given you so much anxiety and has prevented you from doing things you want to do. It’s certainly easier said than done, you’re right, but sometimes we just need to try to get on with it! I know you can do it 🙂

  • What a great post! I really want to do more traveling and the world has become such a scary place, even in the US but I don’t want to let that deter me from traveling. That’s just not fair.

    xoxo, Jenny

    • Thanks, Jenny! It really has become a scary place, but you’re right that it definitely should not let that deter you from seeing the world when there’s still so much out there that’s good.

  • Chelsea Damon

    I totally agree with you! Still makes me nervous to be flying this weekend however :/ I just trust that God will work everything out for the best. Keep on traveling!

    • I understand that, it can still be stressful. Thanks for stopping by!

  • It is a little scary these days but I feel like if we quit traveling and change our lives for these people, then we are letting them win.

    • Yes, exactly, Heather. It’s scary for sure, but we just need to keep living normally because living at home in fear isn’t going to solve anything.

  • Mimi Rose

    I completely agree with this post, and it’s sad to see how many people are allowing their fears to keep them from seeing the world. There is always going to be a chance of danger wherever you go, even the chance of getting mugged or assaulted right outside your house in your hometown, but allowing that fear to keep us in our little fear bubble does nothing to reunite the present world and the differing cultures that exist in it, and it really does let the terrorists win. Because that’s what they want, people to be afraid. Thank you for writing this post, I can definitely relate with everything you said.

    • That’s exactly it, Mimi! You’re right, whether it’s the chance of getting mugged or assaulted in front of your home danger is really everywhere and we just can’t let it get the best of us– no matter what!

  • Love this post! There are some places I won’t go, just because things are more volatile there and I don’t think the vacation would be worth it, but there are other places I’ll continue to travel to. Like you said, you need to be alert and aware. And something can happen in my own community just as much as it can happen to me while I”m traveling.

    • Oh I totally get that, Crystal. There obviously still some places in the world that for the time being aren’t worth the EXTRA risk of going to and I certainly hope one day I can, but I agree now. It’s all about not letting the fear of the unknown get the better of you and to not think of terrorist acts as something more common than a car crash.

  • Valerie CottageMakingMommy

    Great thoughts but I’m not travelling oversees anytime soon.

  • Denay DeGuzman

    What a fabulous post and point of view! My husband and I travel frequently and we are of the same mind about the matter as you. I feel travelers should take the usual precautions, have personal safety in mind (just as they would going to a public place in their own home towns), and get out and enjoy life.

    • I completely agree, Denay! It’s definitely important to get out and enjoy life.

  • I really love this perspective. We have also received that “be safe” comment from a lot of people whenever we go on a trip and it makes me feel like a child again. The reality of the world is that it could happen anywhere, even my own backyard. Living in fear only lets the terrorists win. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

    • That’s exactly how I felt, Ashley! Definitely makes me feel like a child again. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  • I love this post and your outlook on this subject. I 100% agree that by living your life in fear and not doing the things you love is giving terrorists what they want. I personally think this same thought process can be applied to all life situations. You should never let fear keep you from doing things you love. Awesome post! 🙂

    • Thanks, Cara! It’s so true, you should always do what you love and not let fear get in the way.

  • Excellent point of view and love how you have summed up the depth of the matter and why it is important to not give into such cruel acts! Totally agree, if places like New York, London and Paris are not safe then we are not safe anywhere else in the world either! I worked in the heart of NYC for a few years and my commute took me right by World Trade Center everyday, imagine how we all feel passing by WTC after all that happened there! Hope there is an end to this madness, soon!
    xx, Kusum | http://www.sveeteskapes.com

    • Oh, I hope so, Kusum! I can only imagine how that must have felt. I think it’s easy to give in to fear and that’s why so many people do it. But being able to overcome that fear is what will start to bring out world back together again.

  • YES!!!! I’ve never been one to let my fears run my life. My daughter was born on September 11 almost 15 yers ago now, and as you can imagine, that was a scary day to become a new mum. Yes it’s made me scared of the world that I’ve brought her into, but I’ve never let it stop us from living. Although we have not been out of Australia yet, we have plans to do so soon, we thought it would be great to explore our own country first.

    • Oh my gosh, Vicki, I can’t even imagine how that must have felt like! I love to hear this hasn’t stopped you from still going out and living your life the way YOU want to. That’s great that you’ve explored Australia–it’s definitely a big country with a lot to see! I hope you travel to some amazing places, and thanks for sharing your story!

  • Oh my gosh, how scary, Lauren! I’m lucky that I’ve never experienced anything like that, but of course the possibility is always there. You’re so right that the only way to win against terrorism not to fall victim to terror, because that’s exactly what they want, and changing your behaviors sadly isn’t going to make a huge amount of difference. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

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