This morning on Facebook, and I hate referencing Facebook as much as I do but it is where many noteworthy things happen, a friend posted an article about a horrible mass killing at a Mexican resort.
In my friend's post she noted that incidents like this were the reason she didn't travel to the South for holidays like so many people in this area are want to do.
During my morning shower I started thinking about this comment and its greater implications. My friend is afraid to travel—the world is full of people who do not travel and life goes on but what impact does it have on our society when a portion of the population is in self-imposed exile?
Unwillingness to travel limits exposure to other cultures and other places. This fear limits one's understanding of the world. Travel is not only a great teacher it is the the greatest force for the eradication of prejudice that I know.
I can understand my friend's fear; I have been feeling it too as I contemplate travelling with my children. To take the risk that travel to foreign places might pose by myself was never a difficult decision for me but to put my children at risk, that has been eating away at my future travel plans for several years.
If I don't expose my children to the world through travel wouldn't that put them at a different kind of risk? Travel, I believe, is necessary for their survival as compassionate, informed, involved citizens of the world.
And shouldn't we be asking ourselves: What are we really afraid of?
Of course these murders in Mexico are horrific but is home any safer?
In my life I have known three people who have been murdered—all in Nova Scotia.
One might be tempted to say that that is due to the fact that I live here but in fact I have only lived here half of my life, the rest of my time on the planet has been spent leapfrogging through Asia, Canada and the United States.
My friends and family are equally geographically diverse. I have friends who live in all corners of the globe; some in what I would consider very dangerous places. Even with such a wide and varied network—it is in rural Nova Scotia that murder has been part of my life.
When I think about these facts and the opportunities that travel has provided for me; I can not think of limiting my children's possibilities. Courage is not the doing of dangerous things, it's the doing of things in the face of fear.
I hope that I will have the courage to help my children travel and experience the world; it is one of the most important gifts a person can receive.