Travel, and Rumours of Travel

“They both sound dangerous.” How to balance danger and travel with children.

Dear Adventurous Reader,

Today I talk abut Fear, Travel and Wars. I got an email that pointed out our future travel plans sound dangerous. I am not sure about that, but I appreciate how our plans could illicit those feelings, it is not stopping us from making plans. How can we travel when the world is in such turmoil?

The world is full of wars, and rumours of wars. The world is full of bad people doing bad things, looking to destroy all of civilisation with one foul swoop. The removal people from the face of the planet.

Except it is not “Full” of them.

The world has fights and skirmishes. We vilify regions because of what we hear on the news, amplifying our bad thoughts in the process. We get our opinions and make generalisations from small snippets of press, because when we look at a region in 5 minutes, we want to see the good and bad in a flash.

Travel forces us to look at a country differently. Rather than “Is it safe?” we ask, “Where can we safely visit?” In doing so, we can see places we want to go, and then see if it is safe to visit or a place we should avoid.

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

We were in Canada and we were not attacked by bears. We are in America now, and I have not been shot, despite the massive gun violence issue in this country.

Fear is what we are sold when we watch the news. Our research tells us different things about different countries. While the News says “It is dangerous”, our research often says “It is dangerous, but you can avoid the danger these ways…” A healthy dose of fear is a great motivation for better research into our future travel plans.

We wouldn’t enter a country if we thought that our lives were at risk.

Where To Next?

People often ask us where we are going next, we have a vibe that we aren’t finished travelling just yet. If you’d like to know, we are thinking either Central America or Europe - either place seems to be calling our name, but we are not decided on either way just yet.

“They both sound dangerous.” A quote from my email this morning.

Danger, though, is a matter of research. It is easy to qualify a nation’s safety based on what we hear in the news, but it helps to zoom in, and find out more information. Lots of reading, and discussion helps us to make decisions on where to go.

Where to next?

Where Other People Have Walked Before…

In Canada, Gramps was a wonderful source of information on Mexico. We went over maps, laid out on the bench, and pointed at places of interest. Ways to get around. Things to be careful of. We discussed border crossings, local militia and how to travel the roads of Mexico.

We talked to our good friends about their experiences in Central America. They had travelled there with younger children and said “As long as you get far away from the border as quickly as possible, you’ll be fine.” There are problems with drugs close to the borders. We talked specifics of travelling the roads in our car, and we talked about great places to visit, and food to try.

Talks like this are helpful. They give us confidence to make decisions, but more than the confidence, they are where we find out small tips and tricks for travelling into a new country. By talking to people who have experienced the area, we can explore the country in words before by sight.

We hear the news, and watch the explosions, and write off travel to a country or region because of an attack in one place. Most countries are big places, and not representative of an area under attack.

Reading and Reading

Information, the more you have, the more informed the choices you make. Reading about an area give us confidence to travel. Where to visit, places to stay, how to camp. What to look out for. Where families stay. Regions that are good or bad.

The Australian government has Smartraveller as a source of information about the world. It is helpful in finding out about regions they recommend travelling to, health information about those regions and information that isn’t current affairs.

The Path Walked Before

We are a member of a families travel group on Facebook that has been an awesome resource. Reading news about families that are like us, asking questions, and reading over discussions, is a great way to become familiar with places to see and how safe it is in a country without being there.

We aren’t the first to travel to a country. We won’t be the last. We are just looking at how we should travel to have the best experience we can.

It is a Matter of Where You Place Risk

“On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” Chuck Palahniuk

We wouldn’t travel if we lived in fear. We are doing the best we can, with the information we have, to make travel plans into the future. Part of it is courage, but courage without a solid foundation is not courage.

If we made all out travel plans from the News and the media, we’d stay at home. Part of travelling is accepting that danger is always around us, and that by by accepting that, we can make decisions to keep us as safe as possible.

As Australians we understand that a small insect can harm, or kill someone. We know better than to run into long grass, on a hot day, just in case of finding snakes - and it is the same as travel. We don’t change into a new country unprepared and blindly hoping our safety will follow behind. Research and investigation - from many sources - before crossing a border make us feel a little safer in our decisions.

But, if the food is good enough, we’ll go just about anywhere.