Feb 6th, 2017, 10:48 AM

Traveling in the Face of Terrorism

By Lillian Wagner
Image Credit: Unsplash
Terrorism worldwide makes travel scary, here is how to fight back.

Worldwide, people are living with the constant threat of a terrorist attack — like the attack in Paris this past week in the Carrousel du Louvre.

Major news outlets feed the fear by covering international terrorist acts. And the fear has dealt a severe blow to the travel industry. Mark Okerstorm, the chief financial officer of Expedia, told the New York Times:  “In France, growth in nightly hotel room bookings after the Paris attacks fell to single digits from 20 percent. And after the Brussels bombings, bookings went negative and after Nice, bookings fell by double digits.”

As someone who loves to travel, I take the opposite view. We should travel despite the threat — as a passive way to defy radical groups that strive to strike fear into our hearts.

I suggest that we all take a self-designed attitude towards traveling in the face of terrorism. Living in Paris for the last three years has taught me that, even though terrorism occurs and is tragically a part of the world we live in, we should not stop living our daily lives normally. Numerous studies from reputable sources show that traveling independently helps one to understand oneself more. By gaining self-confidence and becoming self-aware at the same time, you start to realize that everyone is more similar than we originally perceive. My advice to world citizens is to travel as much as possible and travel with an open mind. 

Image Credit: Unsplash

When terror strikes in the world, people begin to avoid that area and its surroundings. Think about it this way: if you get a cut on your leg, what do you do? You wrap it, hold it, and heal it. Why can we not have this same practice when a country is hurt by a terror attack? When terror strikes and fear sets in, we citizens should attend to the wounds inflicted by radicalized groups. We should wrap the injured country in our arms, and heal it as a group.

According to Foreign Affairs, ISIS works on a strategy to instill fear in citizens of other countries to maintain power. Please do not misunderstand: I am not saying be oblivious to your surroundings and ignore what is happening in the world. I am saying that letting yourself be scared out of a planned trip is giving the terrorist exactly what they want: power over your thoughts and actions. The world is a beautiful and engaging place, do not let inhumane ideas affect the way you fall in love with the world. 

Image Credit: Unsplash

When citizens of the world travel, cultural understanding results. According to Reference, cultural understanding is defined as is the ability to recognize the different beliefs, values, and customs that someone has based on that person's origins, and it allows a person to build more successful personal and professional relationships in a diverse environment.

Personally, the practice of traveling with cultural understanding in mind makes me fall in love with the world again, even with the chaos of terror which is splattered in front of our faces at every turn. By understanding cultures more in depth than surface value, a kind heart for others emerges and the realization that the world is "that" small sinks in. The issues dividing us now all relate back to the fact that we do not understand each other and that we all are different. 

Now, let's join together and put some loving arms around the world. Travel to understand yourself, people, and cultures. Spread love and light.