Don’t Stop Traveling

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So I’ve been thinking about this a lot since the horrible but all too common events in Paris on Friday…

As I’ve mentioned before, my boyfriend and I have a trip planned to Paris in a mere three weeks’ time. We’re going because I have vacation days to use up, because he’s been to Paris only once and for only two days, because it’s an easy trip for me as I’ve been there dozens of times, and because Paris in December is simply lovely.

People–mainly parental-type figures in my life (including my mother), but also strangers on the internet–have wanted to know whether or not we’re canceling our trip.

And my response?

Absolutely not.

The word “terrorism” came about because the cowards who commit these awful acts of mass murder do it for that very reason: to make us all afraid. Not going to Paris, not traveling, living in fear? It’s letting them win.

Never mind that from a practical standpoint, I have a far better chance of getting run over by a taxi on my way home today than I do of being a victim of terrorism. If you tried to actively avoid everything that can kill you, you’d never leave your house. (Never mind that there are plenty of things inside your house that can also kill you.) The point is, it does not do to live one’s life in fear.

And especially, especially, do not let fear prevent you from traveling. Travel is good for everyone. It expands your mind, lets you experience new things, lets you understand that people are just people, no matter where you go. Never leaving your comfort zone isn’t just boring, it’s also bad for you, and for society as a whole. Travel is a direct antidote to narrow-minded bigotry, which is something I encounter far, far too often here in the good old US of A (especially in light of current events. I’ve abandoned the comments section on Facebook posts for good now. I just can’t.)

You know the saying, “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for”? Don’t spend your life a great ship in a tiny, safe harbor.

Sail.

Image taken by me October 2012 in Paris, France.