Well, first, you might be wondering, of all the topics that I could have covered as my first blog entry, why did I pick this topic? You can say it was created out of frustration, but also out of a desire to enlighten. Let me preface everything that is to be written down below by saying I am not the authoritative author on this. I am sure there are many locations in many countries around the world in which one risks one’s belonging (and sometime life) by walking down it. The recent Sinai tourist bus bombing comes to mind. I admit that tragedies like this can, and will, happen. However, if you are to let any crime dictate on where you can travel as a tourist, then you might as well stay home, lock all your doors, and just wait out for our final days. For those that are more adventurous, continue reading.
Aren’t you scared something’s going to happen to you?
I think the best example of everyone’s sudden crushing concern for my safety came when I announced to the world that I was packing my bags and leaving Barcelona, Spain for South Korea. Now, keep in mind, this was back in 2013, when our
crazy-up-the-bunghole Dear Leader was making his usual yearly ruckus. Of course, everyone’s first comment to me was, “isn’t it dangerous there?” My response was always, “it’s fine.” Of course, after a few hundreds time, it got annoying. Now, I don’t blame people for just going with whatever is on the… no wait a minute, I do blame people.
DO SOME RESEARCH PEOPLE!
We are living in an age where information is EVERYWHERE. We get more information on facebook in an hour than our ancestor 500 years ago would have gotten in their lifetime. Stop relying on whatever is being shown to you on cable news and actually use the internet for something more than following the Kardashian. But I digress, because this really isn’t the point (at least for this post anyway. Maybe I’ll return to this later.
I don’t want to go someplace dangerous
The above I hear a lot of time coming from friends who ask me for recommendations on where to go when they’re traveling outside the country of their comfort zone. They would ask if the place they’re going to is dangerous there. I actually get quite happy when they ask me this. For one, it means they trust my opinion enough to actually care about how I feel. Second, it means that I can help inject some knowledge into them that they might not be able to get from the internet. However, as with all the case of whenever I am asked this, my response is always the same “It depends”. Take for example Washington D.C. in the US. Isn’t it dangerous there? Well that depends. If you’re hanging out near the Capitol Mall, checking out the nightlife in the 18th street corridor or Adams Morgan, you’re more likely to fall and break your face from drinking too much than to have anything violent happen to you. And yet, if you go about 5 miles east (8 km for our metric friends), you’ll be entering some of the most dangerous neighborhood in the United States of Fatblessed America.
Therein lie the long point that I am trying to make. When traveling, there are areas that are completely dangerous that you with your bling bling new DSLR should not be stepping into, and there are other areas where the butterflies are not afraid to be making babies. I believe the biggest danger anyone can ever put themselves in is the danger of being ignorant. By that I mean assuming something about a place, without doing the proper research beforehand, and then passing judgement on it before even visiting there based on preconceived notions. Using the example of South Korea above, I’ve had friends who told me their parents would disown them (somewhat exaggeration) if they were to come visit South Korea. If there’s ever a time when I want to smack my forehead, it was then.
Regardless of how well you do your research as a traveler, know that nothing you do is ever safe. Because in life, shit happens. The cab that you take to the airport could have its tires pop, flip over a few times, and land on top of your slowly breaking neck. You can get mugged while trying to get cash out of an ATM in the middle of metropolitan Bangkok in the daytime. Sometimes, regardless of how well you prepare, things can go wrong when you travel. The first thing to do is count your lucky if you have escaped unharmed. The next step is the most important part: How do you respond to it? Do you cuss out the country and every one of its people and vow never to return ever again? (I’ve seen this happen before in my travels). Or do you just sort of laugh it off and say you now have a story to tell your future grandkids? Remember folks, as Maximus once told us, “What we do in life, it goes for an eternity”. So what is my point here? My point is this: Shit happens when you travel. Shit happens when you sleep at night in your bed. Shit just happens. You can either wipe it off or let it smear all over your yourself. That choice is up to you.
What the hell did I just read?
You’ve just read something so awesome that your brain has returned to a state of primordial soup. Not really. So, if you were too lazy to read that entire post up above (shame on you!), then, beginning now, and with all my future post, here is a summary of the top 5 points I am trying to get across:
- Don’t automatically assume a country is dangerous just because the news tell you so. Seek 2nd opinion. Seek 3rd opinion. Seek my opinion!
- Fight ignorance by educating your parents/peers/coworkers/etc. Remember folks, it’s great big world, and we’re all in it together.
- No place is ever truly safe, and no place is ever absolutely dangerous. Do your research prior to visiting a country, or living there. Even better, visit there first and then live there (something I didn’t do, but that’s just because I’m awesome).
- Don’t let your fear of danger stop you from visiting a place that you’ve always wanted to visit. Grow a vagina. Toughen up.
- If I hear another person that asks me if South Korea is dangerous, I’m going to punch a red panda. So isn’t it dangerous there? No it is not! (All jokes aside, Korea is probably one of the safest country I’ve ever visited. The odd of anything violent happening to you here is probably higher than winning the lottery).
So, if you like what you read, why not SUBSCRIBE to the blog, and let me know what you guys think whenever someone asks you is it dangerous there in the comments down below.