Reason why you won’t travel number 4: It’s just not safe

Turn on your TV and switch over to your local news channel and pay attention. How many stories are you hearing about violent crime, theft and storms? You live in a pretty dangerous town, how do you even step outside your door each day?

Hmmm. You just swallow your fear and do it because, if you don’t, then you’re not living?

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

Focus on the world you really want

A better idea is to focus instead on what is positive. Take inspiration from our travel stories, 15 years travel to 40 countries with barely a scratch. We’ve mostly only ever experienced kindness, helpfulness, compassion, friendliness and laughter in our interactions with others.

There is nothing fearful or unsafe about the world when you look at it through the right eyes. It is said that what you focus on you get. If you focus on danger and negativity then that is what you will attract. If we discovered that the world is indeed beautiful and full of mostly good people, we might be more willing to do our bit to preserve this kind nature of our world and be the best person we can be.

The world does not need to be feared

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 too much about it, and maybe we should. Of course we are conscious of being tasteful. 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 with my life choices.

I know the world is not a bad place because we’ve only had a handful of negative experiences, even through places like Africa, which is the “scariest and most dangerous place on the planet.

In fact, the place I have felt most afraid has been in my own home town. Dangers don’t just lurk in the alleyways of world travel, they’re a part of life. We should not be wasting our precious limited time on earth locked inside our homes in an effort to hide from monsters that often aren’t there.

The Richness of Life

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. It’s 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.

How can you live a life of richness if you view it through fearful eyes that refuse to move out from the chained door? You can’t. So what is the point of being afraid? What memories will you have at the end? How can you continue to justify the reason you can’t live the life you want is because the world is unsafe, when there are thousands every day who are doing what they want regardless?

We still receive those messages that the world is unsafe from people around us.

If that is what you believe, so be it, but over 15 years, and 52 countries I have yet to experience it. Continue to let the media define your life for you, please excuse me while I go and define my own.

Constant Negative News

“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

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 stalk me.

Has it ever happened?

(I’m sure to some people it could possibly have happened, 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.

YOU create your reality. Your perceptions, your choices, what you fill your mind with will be returned via your experiences.

What reality do you want to create?

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. Therefore my experiences in life are largely positive and full of joy and freedom.

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?

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.

I get why you would be scared of the world if you watched the news. It does make it look scary. If you really want to travel the world and live this life that is going to give you so many rich memories and oodles of happiness, I beg you to go on a media ban. Change your perception of the world by filling your energy sphere with all the stories that demonstrate how wonderful the world really is.

Put the odds on your side

Guess what? The most exciting thing about this is that you are in control of your life. You can travel the world, despite the fact that there are dangers there. All you need to do is put the odds on your side. Safeguard yourself, take necessary precautions and make smart choices.

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.

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.

Trust your intuition

It always knows best. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. There is a reason why you get that unsettled feeling in your stomach when you meet that strange person on the beach.

Don’t freak yourself out by imaginary monsters, but definitely pay attention to those little messages our animal instincts give us.

Make smart choices

Keep an eye out for your government recommendations on which countries you should be avoiding. They can be extra-cautionary so use your good judgement. I would not recommend going anywhere that is engaged in armed conflict.

Don’t get really drunk and go swimming, be careful who you accept drinks off, don’t swing off vines into shallow rivers, you get the picture. You’re a smart person, you know what is going to put you into danger and what isn’t. Act responsibly and take care of your safety always. You have mothers who love you. Don’t do anything stupid that will break their hearts.

Walk assertively and confidently

When I was in year 9, we had to participate in a self-defense course at school. I don’t really remember how to flip someone over in a death roll if they were to attack me, but I do remember a very wise preventative piece of advice they drummed into us.

Always walk assertively and confidently.

If you do this potential scam artists and attackers will leave you alone.

They only prey on those who are vulnerable. Walk with your head held high, and confidently greet people and look them in the eye. I have done this many times when I have felt afraid, and it instantly made me feel very strong and brave.

Let people know of your plans

This is especially important for solo women travellers. When you are travelling with someone you always have someone watching your back and looking out for you.

Tell people you know and trust where you are going and when. With today’s communication portals this can involve something as quick as an email, Facebook message, twitter update or Skype call.

Talk to people

Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers, to make new friends and to travel with them. I often went out on my own living overseas because I wanted to meet new people.

I also met plenty of new friends travelling through various countries. I made an effort to talk to strangers, and travel with them. I was never afraid to do so. But please be careful. Use your intuition, your good judgement and you’ll be fine. Be present and tune into that gut—it’s the place of all-knowing and will always guide you in the right direction.

There is always 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?

You cannot let your fears determine your reality. It is not worth passing your dreams up for. You may have a safe life on the couch at home, but what is it offering you in terms of growth and life-long memories? The small risk stepping out into the world represents is so worth you living the life you truly want

Turn off the news and start planning for your dream today.

Do you feel the world is unsafe?

How has it taught you that it isn’t?

Read more reasons why you won’t travel and what to do

  1. I can’t leave my family and friends
  2. I have too many responsibilities
  3. My career will suffer
  4. I don’t have any money

It's not safe to travel

21 thoughts on “Reason why you won’t travel number 4: It’s just not safe”

  1. Do I feel the world is unsafe?

    I’ll get back to you in 20 months after we’ve been away from North America for 12 months. 🙂

    Seriously though, I think the odds are very high that our trip will confirm the world IS pretty safe after all. We’ll use our common sense, take reasonable precautions, research our destinations as best we can ahead of time, and then… we’ll just go (me, hubby and 2 kids). Some people we tell are totally freaked out by the whole idea, others just think it’s cool. Hopefully the freaked out ones will realize their fears were overblown by the time we are back to see them again. 🙂

    I think you’re right about the constant negative news thing making things seem way worse than they actually are, most of the time anyhow.

    And since the bringing-kids-along thing tends to get some people all riled up, I’ll just add a disclaimer stating that we will not be going to any places with dire “do-not-travel” warnings etc. I promise. 🙂

    1. Sounds like a smart and safe plan Sheralyn! And the best approach for the naysayers is to prove them all wrong. As long as you are comfortable that is all that matters

  2. When I set off to Africa, and alone at that, you wouldn’t believe how many people felt the need to throw their horror stories at me. I didn’t hear a single positive thing, only people telling me to reconsider because I was probably going to die. Of course I was fine in the end, and had very few negative experiences but it made me think. I came to the same conclusions as you in your article, the world is a beautiful and rich place that should be experienced and inherently people are good. Use some common sense and you will be fine 🙂

    1. Oh gosh, AFrica tends to bring out all the stories. I can’t tell you how terrified I was to visit Johannesburg after everything I heard. While it is not the most safe place and you do have to be a lot more alert, I’ve been there twice now and had no problems. I think you have to view life as Things happen for a reason and if your time is up, then it’s up. You’re best off doing what you want and making every day kick ass

  3. Really nice! This article is very important for all those people who have misconceptions about travel. Safety is not an issue – it is an excuse. Every single person is vulnerable to harm any moment (even in our homes). So why worry?! It’s better to enjoy!

    1. Totally agree. It is an excuse. Danger is a part of life and is everywhere you turn. You can’t let it stop you from living. Just tune into your instinct and you’ll be a lot more able to handle it.

    1. I feel the same way about my home town Ken! So funny. I’ve been to Vegas and didn;t feel unsafe. I wonder why we feel like that about our own towns– probably because we are more aware of its inner workings and the local news feeds into that fear for us a little more.

      1. Your right it’s the little things you read about and see everyday .Las Vegas is safe for tourists we have over 40 million a year and 99.9 go home with no problem. It can be one of the cheapest places in the US to visit I can find you a nice 3 star hotel for 20.00 a night or the best 5 star for 150.00 during the week. There’s a lot of free things to do and it can be a very inexpenive vacation. It’s the little things that happen like the 3 people that were killed on Hollaween including a 16 year old girl all in car accidents. Someone is going to die today in a car accident someone will be murdered. 40 people will have there cars stolen or house broken into. Nevada is a rich state ,but we have the worst schools, medical care and only about 25% of kids make it through High School. When you are traveling your not watching the local news if you can even underdtand it your there to have a good time. Reading aboiut your year trip makes me want to do that in the US I’ve always lived on the West Coast and really hav’nt seen much of the rest of the country. Your site is great keep it up.Thanks Ken

  4. Before taking my first international adventure – I was fearful of how safe those far away lands would be.

    I decided to give Spain the benefit of the doubt and trust everything she had to offer. Turns out, there wasn’t a single situation where I felt uncomfortable. The people were nice and many times I got lost and had to use my sophomore year Spanish “skills” to ask for help. Most people were glad I attempted Spanish and were excited to help. Also noticed how much pride they had for their city.

    Remind me of the wallet test! Readers Digest dropped 169 wallets in cities around the world and recorded how many were returned. Full results here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/24/travel/least-honest-cities/

    Interesting to see Mumbai, India was “more honest” than both my home country (NY, USA) and London. According to the news alone, that would NOT be the case!

    1. Wow what a great study! Loved reading that, thank you for the share. I would have loved to seen how Aussie cities went. I found the people super wonderful in Spain as well.

  5. I’ve never felt unsafe while traveling, but I know many who do. Maybe because I stopped watching the news along time ago or I know there is crime of some sort, almost everywhere. Whatever it is, I’m glad I’ve never been afraid to travel.

    1. It’s amazing how wonderful the bubble is when you eliminate the news from your life. Perception is everything . If it’s not happening in your bubble then its not really happening.

  6. Awesome post! and you make some extremely valid points. You would believe the people that stare at us morbidly when we tell them we are off to travel the World. Everyone’s first question is ‘ is it safe?’ ‘Haven’t you seen the news?’ I always tell them this story: Remember in the news when that poor girl was gang raped in India and it made World News? one week later a tourist was pulled into a dark alley in NYC and most people never even heard about it.

    We too have only experienced kindness on our travels. We assert confidence and use our heads while we travel- not putting ourselves into bad areas or situations and as a result we have a love for traveling to new places. This is a really great series (I’ll be sending links to some of my still skeptical friends and family member!!!)

    1. Oh great! Thank you. Let’s share the positive truth and convert those who have been mislead by the news. I’d rather just live and enjoy than give up because of something that might happen. Perhaps I should take that advice then when it comes to swimming in the ocean, because I am a tad scared of sharks!!!

  7. I was just telling someone the other day, I’ve had my house broken into while I was home (In TASMANIA!), been pick pocketed, had a car stolen out the front of my house, and had my mountain bike and camera stolen in the middle of the day out of my flat in a secture building (second story). ALL four of those incidents happened AT HOME. Conversely, I’ve travelled all through latin america and asia, and not experienced any crime there. You can’t predict where things will happen!

  8. I once read in a book that an American guy travelled from New York to Argentina. I think it was the end of 2001 right after 9/11 and the financial crisis in Argentina. His American friends said “How could you go to Argentina right after such a crisis, it’s not safe”. Then he came to Argentina and talked to a local. He said “You’re from New York? I wouldn’t go to New York – it’s not safe.” I think that pretty much hits the nail on the head. There are dangerous situations everywhere on earth. I never feel 100% safe when walking alone through a dark street – can be in Germany, Australia or Latin America. But I don’t let my fear stop me from travelling cause that’s the thing I love and I know that most of the people on this planet are good. I totally agree with your post. Sure there are places where you shouldn’t go and you should take care of yourself. But the fear of safety should never stop you from travelling.

  9. Hi everybody, I wish I can spend my life on a trip and I agree with many of your adventures about travel vs safety but let me tell you something: There are really dangerous places out there and I’m not talking about your cellphone, your shoes or a kidnap for few days, I’m talking about things you don’t even know exist, if you want details write in private but I dont want to give any bad energy to the post, I just want you to be realistic and help you take care of yourself, dont over expose and again, I’m not talking about wearing jewerly or nice clothes, read before going to dangerous countries like mine, I’m from Venezuela which has incredibles beaches, mountains, lakes, the tallest waterfall in the world, and I can keep writen for few hours but unfortunatelly every half an hour a person die for violence, so please, keep the wild soul but also dont put yourself in the wrong place!

    1. Yes of course,everyone needs to do their research, as mentioned in the post there are some places its not safe to travel to.

  10. 8 years ago, I had an incredible solo journey through Mexico and Central America. Before I left, all but a handful of people tried to discourage me. They were worried about how the news portrayed these countries and the fact that I would be couchsurfing with people I had yet to meet.
    On my trip, I met amazing people everywhere who showered me with gifts, the most important being the blessing from a complete stranger and the second being a watchful eye. I made incredible friendships with my couchsurfing hosts which opened doors to more amazing experiences. I found people far more receiving there than back home here.
    Having said this, I did have a few risky upsets. But I continued on because I figured the positive vibes until then by far outweighed the few occurrences.
    I took away from this, that unless you experience something first hand, you need to ignore the media hype. Talk to someone from there or who has been.

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