Is it Safe to Travel The World?

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“We always watch the news and it tells us how bad we are. It is stunning how little bad stuff is going on in the world today when everyone knows where you are and what you are doing”- Gary Vanyerchuck

A question that would cross the mind of most would-be travellers is “Is it safe to travel the world?”

Is it safe to travel the world

Is it safe to travel the world?

Fair enough right? I mean the world is a terrifying place full of war, hatred, rape and murder. Just watch the news often enough and you’ll learn all about it.

What’s so sad about these sensationalized stories – which depict only a small truth to the reality of life – is that they actually prevent many people from stepping out into the big wide world to have life changing travel moments; moments that teach you the world, for the most part, is actually a good place.

We have mostly only ever experienced kindness, helpfulness, compassion, friendliness and laughter in our interactions with others around the world.

the world is full of good people
Always meeting kind and gentle souls

If we discovered the truth that the world is indeed beautiful and full of mostly good people, then each of us might be more willing to do our bit to preserve this kind nature of our world and be the best person we can be.

Don’t Fear the World

We often get asked if we are ever afraid putting photos up of our children online and being so public with our life.

We don’t think much about it, and maybe we should, but I come from the belief that the world is not a bad place. I don’t fear the world, I don’t fear people’s intentions and so because of that I feel quite liberated in the way I can live my life.

I know the world is not a bad place because in all my travels, even through places like Africa, which is the “most scariest and dangerous place on the planet” we have never had one bad thing happen to us.

Kruger Park, South Africa
Walking safari in Kruger Park, South Africa- safety measures in place

Oops sorry I forgot, There was that time I was kidnapped on a motorbike in Sumatra and was sung death songs to, but that is okay, because I survived and it taught me to be more careful in my choices and to be more present. Just a blip really.

But, you know, when I was about 12, I was playing tennis with friends down at the local courts, when a car drove down the dirt road beside us, wound down the window and pointed a gun at each of us.

I think it was a prank on their behalf intended to see how much they could scare the crap out of small children, but an indication that the dangers do not just lurk in the alleyways of world travel, they are indeed just  part of this thing called life.

It is something that none of us can avoid. We should not be wasting our precious limited time on earth locked inside our homes in an effort to hide from the monsters. We all want to be safe. Travel, just like anything else in this world offers risk and reward.

The Richness of Life

I love this quote from the book “Sophies World,”

“You can’t experience being alive, without realizing that you have to die. But it’s just as impossible to realize that you have to die without thinking how incredibly amazing it is to be alive. How tragic that one has to get ill before they understand how rich life is and what a gift it is to be alive.”

Living in fear is what prevents you from understanding how rich life is and what a gift it is to be alive. A gift that needs to be cherished and lived fully doing those things that make your heart sing, despite the apparent dangers that lurk in the shadows.

Climbing Mt Fansipan Sapa Vietnam
Kind and helpful Guides- Mt Fansipan, Sapa

Wandering Earl wrote a post the other week, “Why I don’t panic when my backpack goes missing,” which really highlights, that he too, has discovered the world is not scary after 11 years of travel. And trust me he has been to Pakistan and Iraq!

Constant Negative News

What Gary Vee said is right.

Think about it, how often do you tell your friends on facebook, twitter, foursquare what you are doing at any one time.

I’m here having coffee, I’m taking a beach walk.… I”M NOT HOME COME ROB ME.

COME FIND ME AT THE BEACH and rape me.

Has it ever happened?

(I’m sure to some people it could possibly have happened to, but have the incidents risen from what was happening before the growth of social media?)

Society has you believe that the world is a dangerous place because that is what SELLS

How morbid is that?

What is wrong with society that we are addicted to bad news?

Yes addicted.

Some people spend hours every day watching it on TV or reading about it in newspapers.

Most of the time I go about my life completely oblivious to what is going on in the world, because I do not pay attention to the Constant Negative News.

If there is something I really need to know, I usually find out because someone will tell me.

I don’t want my head to be ruined by fear mongering. If I did I would never leave the house.

Murders, rapes, break ins, all happening within a five mile radius from my home.

Safe to travel around the world?

Forget that, it’s not safe to take the nails out the window, unlock the deadlock and climb over the six foot fence into the big bad neighbourhood.

Switch off the news, start living your life and you’ll soon discover that the world is really not dangerous and it is safe to travel.

It’s like all things, even when you are walking down the main road of your town, you just have to make smart choices and keep your wits about you.

Here is the number one way to guard against your safety while travelling.

Be present

Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of what is happening in the area you are travelling, because yes, some places are involved in machine gun wars, and okay, so that is not safe to travel to and probably a gigantic risk on your behalf.

Know your risks and act accordingly.

I bet if you are present, you will see things that are about to happen, your instincts will kick in and alert you to danger. You will have all your senses engaged so you will know intuitively how to act in order to get yourself out safely.

Of course, there is the possibility that something can go wrong, but as your news will tell you that possibility exists in your very own town, and that does not stop you from going to work, going to dinner, having fun and promoting it on facebook.

Why not do the same in another country?

It’s not frightening. It’s not scary , it is down right enjoyable and liberating.

hiking the narrows Zion NP Utah
Hiking the Narrows Zion NP

So yes, it is safe to travel the world.

The dangers are there, I know that having lost a friend in Africa, but the dangers are every where. Don’t let it stop you from living the life you dream.

Don’t give into the lies the media will feed you.

Life is too short to let fear stop you from living.

What are you thoughts on whether it is safe to travel the world or not?

43 thoughts on “Is it Safe to Travel The World?”

  1. I was just thinking about this very issue yesterday, as I was thinking about out last trip to Madrid (in October). At the time, the US Secretary of State had issued a worldwide travel warning because of some terrorist stuff going on somewhere in the world.

    My mother called me and admonished me to be careful, and told us not to ride the subway in Madrid (she has never been to Europe, so she was unaware of how nearly impossible it is for budget travelers to stay off of public transit in large European cities).

    It made me think…and I came to the conclusion that I don’t feel any less safe in another country than I do at home. Bad things can happen anywhere. This “feeling at home in the world” is what travel has done for me. I haven’t always have felt this way. When you get out into the world, you see that everybody is essentially the same, same fears and desires, and that people are generally just like you and me in a lot of ways.

    1. Great comment Shanna and I love the example you have used. I so agree with you. It wasn’t till I started travelling that I also understood that the world is not scary and we are all the same. in fact, i feel more scared walking around my home town at night with Craig, then I ever did walking the streets of London on my own late at night.

  2. To be honest travelling can put you in some unusual predicaments that you would not generally encounter. This alone can scare off some people who would not normally venture out of their comfort zone. I am a firm believer in getting a good understanding of the places that I am travelling to and making informed decisions.
    I have experienced my fair share of scary moments during my travels but not only did I make it out the other end but they have made me the person that I am today and a great story to tell.
    Travel is one of the most educating and rewarding things that you can do in your life. It is better than any text book and the memories you create and friendships you build are more valuable than any fancy mansion or sports car so don’t let the fear of what ‘might’ happen stop you from experiencing it.

    1. Yes. Venturing out of the comfort zone can be terrifying. I loved the fact that these unusual predicaments actually showed me what I was capable and helped build up my confidence. So worth stretching the comfort zones for. And as you say it all makes it a great story to tell in the end! That is half the fun. We have so many crazy stories. Can’t wait to collect more.
      It’s all about the memories!!

  3. Before I left for my travels in Latin America and even now I get questions about safety. I always tell people that those scary things we think about happening in other “more dangerous” parts of the world can still happen at home too. Of course, I am diligent to take the precautions to keep myself safe wherever I am.

    But as you say here, those dangers are a part of life.

    1. Yes. people seem to think they don’t exist in their home town and only occur once you travel. The dangers are everywhere. Best to just live your life and just make smart choices and be present. 15 years of travel and I am still healthy and whole with not a scratch to be found

  4. I was thinking about this when I saw the “Best 45 Photos of 2011” or something along those lines. The vast majority were of war, death, natural disasters–incredibly moving but all very sad. How frustrating that our most moving images are all so negative–I was so much more moved by the ones that showed a human relationship, a smile, a bit of joy, a reminder that not ALL is bad in the world. We need to start thinking more like that, and having less of an attitude of fear.

    1. I haven’t seen them yet, but you are right, that is tragic. Why are we so obsessed with pain and negativity? A smile and a genuine loving connection is so much better. It’s time for a change I think

      1. I think I saw those photos – and they were incredibly moving – and incredibly sad. I think that the photos and “news” that move us the most are always at either end of the spectrum – because great joy and utter despair are things that every single person on the planet can relate to. It’s such a shame, though, that the news always, always focuses on the negative situations – even if they don’t exist! There’s a scene at the start and end of the film Love Actually that uses real footage of the arrivals hall of Heathrow Airport. Now, that’s one of the most moving things I’ve ever seen… If you haven’t seen it, give it a go even if you don’t like the rest of the film. As for the dangers while travelling, I really hope you don’t mind me sharing this link here about what happened to me last week: http://www.insidethetravellab.com/a-shooting-in-istanbul/

        1. Thank you for sharing your post Abi, it is such a great post and I am always happy that others share with our community.
          I think the negative news makes us think that we are doing okay then, that our lives aren’t nowhere near as bad. if we just learned to stop relying on comparison to make us feel good about ourselves then we might be more inclined to just want to hear good news.

  5. World is too safe to travel the most areas. when i go for travel to India, I got lot of places that tells their own story that so beautiful and also to enjoy these places and other things to maintain and celebrate to have fun and enjoy of these. world is not so bad to travel the ancient and modern temples. In this story mentioned risks and acts are too excellent and wonderful to manage all these things. Thanks for this post.

  6. I completely agree Caz! I’ve been to many places where friends had said: “that country is pretty lawless” meaning dangerous but when you get there you find normal, kind people living their everyday lives. The only bad thing that has ever happened to me was when after months of independent travel in Africa I went on a day tour – which just proves to me that only when you make yourself a target is the world a dangerous place.

    1. Exactly Natasha!! Great point. We always felt safer travelling with the locals in Africa.. We’d see the big overland tourist trucks go by which were a very big target. Even then, though,, little even happens to them.

  7. Great post. Recently wrote about this same topic on one of my sites. Threats of violent crime, terrorism, disease – all of these are greatly exaggerated. I would say the warn area where you do have to take some extra caution is road safety, which is far and away the biggest threat to travelers. In most destinations, road accidents in the number one cause of injury/fatality for travelers. That said, even when it comes to road travel, there are steps you can take to lower the risk (avoiding night travel, for example).

    1. Totally agree with you on this one! And that is how we lost our friend in Africa. Road travel is the only thing that scares me a little overseas, but as you say you can take plenty of steps to lower the risk

  8. It’s an odd conundrum really. The best stories are the misadventures, disasters and other situations that really get your adrenaline up. Despite that though, travel is usually incredibly safe – even in those more heart racing moments. So, which stories do people hear? Which stories should we tell?

    1. Tell all the stories as it is part of the adventure. The misadventures are great stories to tell and as long as you came out the other end okay then its all good! The misadventures are never as many as the safe ones though

  9. I’m a big believe in the idea that fear begets fear. As long as we’re smart and travel safely (i.e. don’t go wearing your American flag bikini into the middle of a Middle Eastern war zone), we should be fine. I feel sorry for people who let fear of the unknown prevent them from experiencing all the amazing adventures this world has to offer…

    1. Totally agree Bret. Fear just prevents you from doing all those things you really should be doing and really want to. As you said, all you need to do is make smart choices

  10. Great article Caz and so true! Once you do travel the world does become less scary every day. But if you just watch the news, well like you said, it does seem like quite a scary place. But that’s the problem, bad news sells, good news doesn’t sell that well, so there are a disproportionate number of fear stories. Since I have been traveling this whole year, I have been following news a lot less, which means I see a lot less bad news, so world seems much better now. And skipping on news isn’t that scary really, if something really important happens, it will be on twitter anyway.

    1. The more I travelled the less scary the world became and the more friendly it was. I find that by not watching the news now, I am highly sensitized to any bad news or scary TV shows. I get really distressed if I watch them I used to enjoy watching Criminal minds but now cannot watch it, it freaks me out so badly.

  11. Great Post. And something we all consider, espescially with kids.

    I was just watching a travel show yesterday that said Nicaragua is the sfaest country in Latin America. And it has less violence than France and Germany. Who knew?

    It’s not fair or just that the news and other powers that be can alter our opinions so easily. Bu, it is the way it is. So it is of course our job to find out how the world really is.

    Living in Boston I have seen my share of crime and violence. No different anywhere else. Knowing this takes the fear away.

    1. wow! Never knew that about nicaragua, it always seems to get a bad rap.
      There is heaps of crime here in my home town- i find it way scarier than most places I have travelled to. You do have to think more carefully about where you go and what you do now with kids but I still think it is safe to travel with them

  12. “Dangerous times, You should not go to dangerous places.”
    Simple and basic things. I think an important thing. What risk criteria? I think it is judged by the people divided. With that in mind, the authors pointed out is important. “Know your risks and act accordingly.” I completely agree.

  13. How refreshing to read this article! I often get asked about safely and the good old “aren’t you scared to travel these days?” Sure, bad things can happen sometimes. But they can happen anywhere. And like you say, Caz, should we lock ourselves away and hope for the best? No way. I think the travel blogging community really helps with creating a more positive approach: encouraging people to see that, for the most part, travel is not only safe but one of the best things you could ever, EVER do. Thanks for such a great post!

    1. Pleasure Cherina, it’s nice to be able to share the truth as I am sure there are many people not living their dream life of travel because they do fear for their safety. You may hear of one bad story amongst thousands of great ones. for the amount of people that travel there really isn’t many bad things happening.

  14. I understand everything you are saying but how can I trust myself going some places that has different rules than mine, how do I know I’m not gonna svre the crap out of the people in other countries..this is what scares me!

    1. Every country has different rules, you just have to go there with an open mind and a willingness to learn and accept. It is not as hard as you think it will be. Why would you scare other people? I am sure you have a lot to offer as do they

  15. Thanks so much for posting this. I am constantly amazed at how fearful people are and how they use fear as an excuse not to experience the world. My aunt recently moved to Mexico and with all the bad news in the American press everyone always assumes that she is one step away from being kidnapped. In my experience, US cities are the most dangerous places. Two years ago, a wanted child rapist was arrested in front of my house in Atlanta. It is safer to travel 🙂

  16. I always love your positive messages! I do get so tired of negative news. But I also look at it like, at least the bad things that happen are still rare enough to make the news — when it becomes too common to get people’s attention, well, I don’t want to live in that world! In the meantime, the beauty of us all having blogs is that we can continue the positive stories!

  17. I have always thought that it has been kind of dngerous to travel the world. No matter how much preperation that you put into it you really never know how it is going to be untill you really get there.

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