Borrowing Trouble and the Culture of Fear

April 23, 2007

Fair warning: There’s a bit of a rant ahead.

 

If I had a nickel for everyone* who asked I would possibly want to travel to Morocco, or seemed amazed that I survived a trip there (without a personal bodyguard), I could….well, I wouldn’t be rich, but I could treat myself to a pair of designer shoes.  Yes, it is a Muslim nation.  No, I didn’t have to cover my hair.  Many Moroccan women don’t.  Sadly, the recent bombings in Casablanca have brought the issue of tourism in Morocco to the surface yet again – namely, is it safe?

I don’t think that I need to remind anyone that, for the average American, the possibility of dying in a terrorist attack is much, much less likely than say, in a car accident or from a heart attack.  Of course these are all normal, logical things to worry about.  But do we let these prevent us from driving a car** or eating deep fried food? 

So why worry?  6.4 billion people visited Morocco in 2006, so the statistics are firmly in favor of your survival.  Attacks in places where tourists almost never go shouldn’t prevent you from traveling to Morocco or most of the places that the U.S. Department of State has on their warning list.  Take Indonesia as another example – would you skip Bali because of the problems in the Aceh province?  And remember that only ten years ago that Croatia was a war zone, and now Ryannair carts in tourists by the plane-load.

As my (very wise) aunt once told me, “stop borrowing trouble”.  Don’t let your life become governed by possibilities that you can’t control, and realize that you can’t plan for every contingency.  This phrase applies to more than just travel.  If you read too many statistics or buy into the Fox News culture of fear, you’ll eventually be afraid to leave your house.  You’ll have to settle for life on the sidelines while others do everything you’ve dreamed about. 

*These are, for the most part, well-educated people.  Besides, I live in a blue city in a blue state – Barack Obama’s state, for heaven’s sake. 

**Driving or riding in a car is a hard thing to avoid, but you could always become a shut-in who orders everything via the internet if you were really determined.

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