Friday, November 16, 2007

Same sky: Dangerous destinations exist at home, too

When people travel to any destination a bit "off the beaten track", they often face a lot of opposition from their friends or family. Usually it's uninformed, perhaps even paranoid, and I have to say, that really bugs me.

Wendy Knight wrote a great story called Dangerous Minds for one of my favourite mags, Perceptive Travel. She travelled to Colombia with her 17-year-old daughter and had to face the typical reactions of many people before she left - it's dangerous, you'll get kidnapped, how can you take your daughter there, and so on. Her story describes their fantastic experiences in Colombia and then the dangerous moment of the trip: fear and confusion at a New York petrol station.

Yes, I've had my moments of fear on my travels, but some of the scariest things in life have happened to me in my own home in Australia, like a midnight burglary attempt a few years back. And of course there are truly dangerous destinations - war zones are the obvious one. But I guess my point is my usual hammering point: it's the same sky. I really think there aren't as many big differences between countries as most people think. So before you make your friend feel guilty for travelling to a "dangerous" destination, do your research and make sure you're speaking from fact and not just hearsay.

OK, lecture over.

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