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I love to travel. Andrei, my husband, loves it as well – and he is a frequent business traveler. He was in Brussels during the terrorist attacks, near Disneyland Paris during those in Paris, and he was in London this week during the recent attacks. So how do you go on traveling? Or, better yet, should you keep traveling? Today I’m sharing our experiences and tips on how to keep traveling after being in or near cities during terrorist attacks.
Fear while traveling
You don’t have to think of big cities and of terrorist attacks alone when speaking of fear while traveling. There are many dangers out there. From the natural ones – volcanoes erupting, severe weather conditions—like tornadoes, blizzards, etc—affecting means of transportation or influencing hikes, to manmade ones, accidental or intentional.
Think, for instance, of pick-pocketers. And they exist in many countries. Many famous attractions have warnings about them – Louvre, for instance. And yes, there are ways to protect yourself from them. You can learn how to be safe from pickpockets, following tips from a person who, unfortunately, had to deal with them.
Then, take in consideration other potential assaults – including rape. Let’s not forget the recent case of the British tourist ‘gang-raped’ in Dubai faces jail for having sex outside marriage (or this example of a similar case from a few years back).
As you can see, fear can be caused by many things when traveling. There are many dangers out there, not only terrorist attacks.
The reason why the latter are so feared is that you don’t really know when or where to expect them, nor can you do anything to prevent them.
What it’s like to be in or near a terrorist attack site – for the person being there and for the family at home. Fun and serious experiences
As you know, if you are a regular reader of this blog, Andrei travels a lot with his job. Mainly in Europe, but not exclusively.
I also mentioned that Andrei landed in London on the exact same day as the recent attack. True, he took a train and a bus to get to a small town near London, but still. If the attack would have targeted the airport, he would have been there. And yes, it was stressful to see yet another announcement about an attack with many injured and killed – some of the injured people being Romanians – in a city where your husband just landed.
The fun experience with a terrorist attack was the one with the last one in Paris. Yes, fun experience, but only in a minor way.
So, Andrei was in a building with no wi-fi or mobile phone signal in several rooms. For many-many hours. From about 10 AM to about 12 AM the next day. He was working.
I was back in Romania, and at the time of the attacks, I was putting the child to bed. I didn’t check my phone for about 45 minutes, and when I did, after Eric fell asleep, I saw the terrible news. Plus, then it was weird as the attackers were being chased and, at night, the president announced that the borders were closed. I had no idea if Andrei would be able to catch his flight, the next morning, back home.
Now, Andrei had no idea what was happening. I had no idea how he was – I mean he could have been on the way to the hotel – one on that exact eastern side that was attacked…
At some point, Andrei’s boss (located in another country) messaged him and asked how’s it going. Andrei replied that it’s “bad. Really bad” at which point his boss worried and called. Yes, Andrei was just arriving at that time into a room with signal 😀 But he still didn’t know about the attacks. So his boss called him and they discovered it was a classic misunderstanding, like in the comic shows or movies: Andrei was referring to the job, as it didn’t go as planned, while his boss thought he was referring to the attacks.
At this SAME time, I was calling Andrei. He didn’t call back – usually he calls me after he gets the job done, unless it’s an emergency. And he didn’t know there was an emergency 😀
I messaged him telling him about the attacks (I figured out that he does not know, otherwise he would have called me instantly). And yes, he called back in a few minutes, after talking to his boss…
So yes, I prefer to focus on this funny experience. And to be thankful each day that he was and is safe.
But, after the attacks in Europe started, we had friends asking, surprised, how come he still travels. So, here are a few ideas and tips on the matter.
How to keep traveling after experiencing terrorist attacks on your trips
First of all, you have to decide if you really want to see a given city. Yes, this is the first and perhaps the most important step. Do you REALLY want to visit London, Paris, Brussels, and other major cities that could be targeted, or could you settle for some smaller, perhaps safer cities?
Keep in mind that a perfectly safe place doesn’t really exist. Like I said, it’s not just the terrorist danger out there. There are many perils. But then again there are dangers in our own back yard. And sick people committing various crimes.
You have to decide if you want to travel at all
Given these potential dangers, you have to decide if you want to discover a new place or city or if you feel comfortable living at home, in your city, for the rest of your life.
Which option would be better for you? Now, I can’t say that there is a universally valid answer to this question. We all have our priorities, lives, things we want, things we are willing to risk, etc. So, to each their own.
But beware that there are dangers. Don’t live in a world with unicorns, milk and sugar. It’s unrealistic. And really unhelpful.
Don’t ignore the dangers. Take them into consideration. But make good decisions – for instance, don’t go on a hike on a mountain when it snows and that route is closed. Yes, this is a thing some do. And some die or are hurt. And there aren’t people hurting them. It’s their decision and often it puts others in danger too – the rescue party.
Have clear priorities
Again, we have different preferences and needs. For us, Andrei’s traveling is a must. We need his pay check. And he likes his job, bosses, and colleagues. Please, don’t start telling me he could get another job. It’s a long discussion, and I don’t want to get into it. Just know that we have given it a lot of thought and took this decision knowing the good and the bad.
The idea is that you have to do the same thing. To have your priorities straight. To know what you need and what you are willing to do to achieve that.
Don’t let fear rule you
There are many dangers out there. And you can decide to avoid going to conflict areas, war zones, or even big cities. But, in the end, fear should not rule you.
The extremists would win. And they don’t deserve this win.
Live your life as you please. And travel if you want. Where you want. The idea is that you may stop traveling, but the dangers won’t disappear.
The world is amazing. There are so many wonderful things to discover everywhere. So yes, I dream about a visit to London during a specific time of the year. And about going to Brussels with Eric. And…. well, the list is long. I mean, I love to travel. And we won’t stop!