In 2004, I told my parents that I used my student loan overage check to pay for a trip to Hong Kong. Their response…..”WHAT! why would you go to China?” Of course my dad, ever the military man says, “China isn’t even in NATO!….I don’t feel good about this”. I was shocked because I thought that they would be as excited as I was.
My parents have since accepted that I will get up and go at the drop of a hat. But, I’ve had many others exclaim, “Why would you go there?” or “Aren’t you afraid?”. My answer is always, why not? and why would I be afraid? Despite all the bad news about natural disasters and terrorism, there is still so much beauty in the world to see. So many churches, mosques, shops, towers and squares to see. How could you not want to go?
Have there been terrorist attacks? Yes. Have there been mass shootings? Yes. People have been fighting since the beginning of time. There is a shooting in the good ol’ US of A every time I turn on the tv, but that doesn’t keep me from leaving the house everyday. We can not succumb to fear because of terrorism. Especially if I know that I could die any day in my own country. I never want to look back on my life during my twilight years and think, I wish I had seen__________.
Now, this is not to say that you should yell YOLO and run around in a bikini in Afghanistan. There are precautions to take. For example:
- Register with the US State Department before going abroad. They will have a record of you and they send updates about the security situation certain countries. I usually will not go to a country that they have warned US citizens against visiting.
- Get travel insurance. If you get sick or hurt, you can be evacuated home. Also, if your trip is disrupted, you may get a refund and so on.
- Do a little research about local customs, especially dress. I wouldn’t show up in Abu Dhabi in a miniskirt and a tank top if I were you……but I would go. 😉
My best advice is to be curious about the culture, and be open to new experiences. It is not as scary as you think. Can’t get anyone to join you? Join a tour.
Get out and see as much as you can!