Last week, a terrorist attack rocked the capital city of yet another major European country. In the aftermath of such attacks the world is once again thrown into a tizzy of fear, confusion and the recalled realization that what peace we may experience is fragile at best. Around the globe, no matter our differences, we all take a collective breath – a sigh not of relief, but of anticipation.
Then the questions come – “Will it happen again?” “Where next?” “Why?”
As a traveler, in addition to these questions that come to us all at one time or another; I often ask and get asked a different set of questions amounting to: “Is travel worth the risk?”
In an interview recently, I told of an experience I had several years ago when speaking at a travel industry event in Macau. In my role as a Travel Evangelist, I spoke to the audience on the topic of risk. Not so much risk as it relates to travel, but as it relates to our business and professional lives. I tell this story, not so much because of how it starts but because of how it ends.
After the conference I found myself standing at the edge of one of the world’s highest bungee platforms, strapped in and about to step off into the clouds below. Now to be clear, I don’t typically advocate jumping off of things. This was not the purpose of my trip to Macau but there I was 764 feet off the ground at the top of Macau Tower. (see the video here) The jump was successful; in fact, it was awesome. It was possibly the riskiest thing I had done at least in many years, if not my lifetime (so far). Would I do it again? Probably not. Would I do something as risky? Depends.
Here’s the thing about risk. It is hard to say if some level of risk is “worth it” or not. If your life goal is to climb the highest peaks in the world, then you will have to accept a certain level of risk to achieve that goal. If you want to visit every country in the world, again there is no getting around the risks inherent with some destinations. Risk has more to do with ones appetite and experience for risk.
Does travel carry risk? Yes. Will I stop traveling because of terrorism? No! Would I travel to very risky places? Well yes, but I would probably wait until next year.
Back to our dilemma.
There are countries in the world where most of us would love to visit. Places of wonder and new experiences that we simply cannot have if we stay home. But many of these places can be dangerous and many people, if not removing the country from their bucket list all-together, will at least put a question mark next to it. There is a risk to travel.
In Belgium last week it appears as though travelers were specifically targeted. Does this fact, or the fact that it could happen again make us want to stay home? May that never happen.
Is travel worth the risk? Only you can answer that question for yourself. To me, travel is living. So the real question should be “Is living worth the risk?” The obvious answer is “Yes!”
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.com.