In the near future I have plans to finally visit the Middle East. Like any adventure I embark on, my family and friends express their worry for my safety. I’ve come to accept this as part of the travel-lifestyle package because usually it’s with good intent.
However, lately it’s been taken to a whole other level based on the region of the world I’ll be traveling to. I’ve had people straight up tell me not to go, and that it’s not worth my life because some sort of life-threatening event is “imminent”.
On one hand I appreciate the concern. On the other hand I just want to spew statistics and facts on the real risks of travel and how mass media shows only a fraction of the truth and should be taken with a few hundred grains of salt.
But recently I thought, well… I may actually die while out traveling. However unlikely and annoying it is to be told this, it is a real possibility. And of course it’s morbid to talk about death, especially your own — but considering my longevity is the thing I’m asked about most, I think it’s time to address it.
So, if you are one of those people who thinks that by traveling I am risking my life, I need you to know something.
Plenty of insane things happen when you venture to a new place. I could be in a skydiving accident, or I could break my neck falling out of a tree in the Amazon. I could have a heart attack from being too excited about authentic Italian pasta (this is the most likely, honestly). Terrorist attack or tuk-tuk accident, death is a reality of life.
You may think that by traveling I’m purposely putting myself in harm’s way, but to me I’m living my daily life. Each week your prerogative may be to walk your dog, go to work, and meet for coffee with your friends. Mine just happens to be researching countries, planning trips, and going experiencing things I never dreamed of. Travel is my day-to-day, I don’t see it as anything out of the norm or particularly life-threatening.
The fact is, a person is statistically more likely to be killed in a car crash getting that morning coffee than someone is to be killed in a plane crash or terrorist attack.
Yet you don’t get “Please don’t drive to work, it’s not worth your life!” texts every day (because media doesn’t sensationalize or politicize car crashes).
I’m not saying I’m traveling with the intent of dying in a blaze of glory. But if I had to choose between “risking my life” by having adventures across the world, and living a “safe” life where I have to sleep every night wondering if it was worth not taking the risk… Well I think you already know my choice.
Of course I say this as a single woman with no children, whose parents are equally addicted to travel and very supportive of it. If I start a family I may reconsider traveling as much or to certain places. Though I hope that future family is equally as empowered to travel with me, because by just traveling you have the opportunity to learn and also give so much back.
But for now, you should know — if I do die while out on an adventure, don’t cry for me! Because honestly, it makes for a great story, right?
I hope I go out feeling as Benedict Cumberbatch did when he said,
“I’ve seen and swam and climbed and lived and driven and filmed. Should it all end tomorrow, I can definitely say there would be no regrets. I am very lucky, and I know it. I really have lived 5,000 times over.”
Or how at least how MIA felt when she said,
“Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well.”