With the political climate in the world and the barrage of news articles we see or hear about on a daily basis, it’s no wonder people have become fearsome about traveling. There were places that were considered dangerous... but then Paris!? I mean come on! People send their children fresh out of high school to study abroad in Europe… are there no places that are worth trusting anymore?? There is no easy way to distinguish countries that are potentially dangerous and the division between first world or third world is no longer a good indicator of what could happen. Thus, fear has grabbed us and left us wondering if there really is danger lurking on every corner of the world. This angst is what causes my uncle to fax me an article about why people believe it is dangerous to travel in Brazil or why my family’s friends tell me there was a new bombing in Thailand a few months before I am about to visit. While it is very natural to care about my well being, I would be left with very few travel destinations if I always kept it safe. Therefore, fear can be the biggest enemy of experience and expansion
Like most things in life, balance can be achieved if you travel with a specific mindset. It exists between being oblivious to danger and being overly untrusting of everyone that crosses your path. Being oblivious is believing that every person has an agenda of honesty or peace and therefore losing your ability to react. I will never forget the moment in Brazil when I got overly comfortable and neglected to think on my toes. It was a pickpocketer in the body of a 5 year old girl that almost robbed me right in front of my eyes. While no one likes to believe that anyone, especially not such a young child, could do such a thing, we forget that in extreme desperation or situations, people can transform. Being alert/aware and reacting when and if needed is just the reality of being in a place outside of what you’re used to. On the other hand, a lot of us feel forced to live in skepticism of people, of places, of things going on in the world but those sentiments are the very thing that ruin traveling in the first place. Traveling should be used for connection and you are unable to do so if you think that the only way to be safe is by assuming a position of dominance or distance. If you choose to approach your time traveling looking for the bad, then you will scare yourself out of the extraordinary opportunity to see the good. The best way I have found to live between these two extremes is to keep both my eyes and mind open. Ready to identify situations that could be harmful but with the ability to see beauty and love, the things that will be able to call your fear’s bluff and show you that it is not always reflective of reality.
Open arms, ready for experience can quickly become closed and shut off if you live in the realm of “what ifs”. So how about instead, you travel with love instead of uneasiness. There is so much more goodness that could be cultivated if we approached the world from a state of love. We have the ability to bring forth the attitude and deeds that are the very antidote of the hatred that divides and scares us. It should be more fearsome living your life without seizing the opportunity to spark your soul while simultaneously bringing grace, kindness, and peace into the world.