For all of my fellow Americans who are afraid to travel abroad due to the possibility of a terrorist attack, please, I beg of you, stop worrying! While I really try to empathize, I can’t help but feel frustrated with the lack of knowledge, information and logic. Despite the absolute horror and tragedy of each individual situation, the overblown daily paranoia spewed by our media only promotes irrational fear. I’m hoping the following facts help to alleviate any of this misguided fear.
Your risk of dying in a car crash is 1 in 19,000 compared to dying from terrorism abroad–one in 20 million! Take a moment to really let the math sink in before reading on. Our brains are wired to focus on catastrophes rather than events that become so routine, like fatal car crashes, so we automatically fear terror attacks more than car crashes, yet the numbers don’t lie. You should be so much more terrified being in a car traveling down your local highway than exploring a beautiful foreign land.
If that didn’t resonate, try this–you honestly have a better chance of being struck by lightning, choking on a hot dog or drowning in your own bathtub than being killed in a terror attack.
On another note, there is another statistic I’ve recently read that completely shocks me. About 70% of Americans currently don’t even own a passport! Compare this to 60% of Canadians who do and 75% of many European nations and Australians who do. This clearly screams a message of fear and confines us within our borders.
There are several people I know who claim they aren’t “afraid” but rather attribute their lack of travel to expense; however they still travel all over the US. Last time I checked, flights to California, Hawaii and Alaska were more expensive than flights to London, Paris and Rome. Furthermore, if they are road tripping it across the country–well, we already talked about those risks.
In the current political climate, it is more dangerous for your mind, body and soul to stay at home. By doing so, you are being saturated with the negative views of the world outside of America. You will start to become brainwashed that your living room is the only safe place on earth. Of course, you may really like your living room; you could order everything you’ll ever need off of Amazon, pizza delivery everyday for the rest of your life, purchase home invasion alarms, set up security cameras and wait for death to come, because it is coming for all of us someday. (My apologies from Debbie Downer) And when it comes, it kind of stays for a really long time, so how do you want to spend the short time you have here. Living room or really living?
As a parent and teacher, I have to explain that hatred is far less likely to breed if we’re all out there experiencing diverse cultures and interacting with people different from ourselves. We can awaken to truths, realize there are so many similarities as we explore the richness of our world . My goal is for all of us to identify the dramatization and fear-mongering that the media is fabricating 24/7 no matter your political stance or which biased news channel you watch.
It is so important to keep travelling, even when disaster strikes. Nothing, and I mean nothing promotes tolerance more than travel.
If you are still afraid to travel abroad, there is one true fear that can be justified–the car ride to the airport is statistically the most dangerous part of the journey–so please wear your seat belt and don’t text and drive.