Since the horrible shooting in Las Vegas, I have been thinking a lot about how messed up the world is right now. It seems like the only news alerts I wake up to in the mornings are about shootings, bombings or some other form of terror. It’s so incredibly scary to know that people can’t even go enjoy a concert without having the thought of being sprayed with bullets in the back of their minds now. What really pained me was that when I heard about the shooting in Las Vegas, I was incredibly sad but not shocked. We have become so desensitized to events like this that there is a pattern. We learn about an attack, we #prayforthem, we hear about it nonstop in the media for a few weeks, it fades away and we scaredly wait for whatever horrible assault on humanity is to come next. We now live in a world that people anticipate attacks on things that bring them joy and that’s so frightening to me.
As you can tell from the name of my website, travel brings me tons of joy. In all honesty at this point I’m not sure if I love it or am just addicted to it. I’m constantly annoying my friends and family with my talks of trips I have planned for pretty much the next decade. If there is a meme about traveling, I’m always tagged in it. While in the past people have been supportive of my love of adventure, recently I have been getting a lot more bitch you crazy reactions. Friends, family and even strangers think I’m insane for wanting to go to cities that are targets or have been attacked like London and Paris. I would always tell them that if we stop doing what we love based off fear then we let the bad guys win. For a long time this was kind of like my credo; I found myself repeating it over and over again.
Recently while sharing my ideology with others, I have been less confident in it. I got a text a few days back from my mom about how the Vegas shooter had booked a hotel in Chicago and demanded a room overlooking Grant Park from August 1st-4th. This was during Lollapalooza and if you read my blog, you know I was there. I called my mom who was pretty shaken up and told her that there is no reason to get worked up when the worst thing that happened that day was a ton of rain. Though I truly believe that we shouldn’t dwell on things that didn’t occur, I couldn’t help but lay in bed that night and let my mind wander though what-if scenarios. I imagined singing and dancing with my friends and then seeing someone die next to me. I imagined thousands of concert goers running out of the park screaming and crying . I imagined walking into the music festival with my three friends but only coming back with two. I let my mind wander until I pretty much felt sick.
I noticed my confidence in my adventures began to lower with all the terror attacks happening in Europe too. These attacks didn’t seem real until they happened in places I had been. Back in January I was shopping at the amazing Borough Street Market in London and in June eight people were stabbed there doing the same thing. Back in May, my friend and I were enjoying a leisurely walk around La Rambla in Barcelona and in August, people doing the same thing were hit and killed by a van ramming into the crowd . One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say the only way to be safe from a terrorist attack is to be aware of your surroundings. This is so far from the truth because the only thing that separated me and those people was solely timing.
On a train from Monte Carlo back to Nice in April, my friends and I met a girl and we wound up talking about the attack that happened there in July of last year. She talked about a friend of hers that witnessed people getting hit and killed by the van that drove through the crowd during the Bastille Day celebrations killing 87 people. She told us about how even though it has been a year since it happened, every time her friend hears a loud noise she drops to the ground and start bawling. One of my friends didn’t know there was an attack and turned pale. He couldn’t fathom that a place as tranquil and beautiful as Nice saw such horror. It became real for him and the rest of our time abroad he always seemed a little more on edge. I feel like there is a point in every traveler’s life that they have a realization that it’s technically not safe anywhere. That moment was his and now I am having mine.
Though this post is incredibly morbid, it’s something that has been on my mind a lot. Since I designate this place as a collection of my ideas, experience and thoughts, I decided I wanted to share. Though I still have plans to travel, this is definitely something that is going to be in the back of my head and has kind of altered my state of mind during my explorations. I still am a firm believer of doing what you love but I now have a deeper understanding of those that don’t want to. To anybody reading this, I would love to know your thoughts, reaction or just general comments below.
Thanks for reading,