Want More Fizz In Your Life? Shake Things Up
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Helen Keller
In the weeks before my departure for the Himalayas in December 2001, I received several e-mails from friends: “Have you read about the trouble in Nepal?” Yes, I have. “Are you still going?” Yes, I am. It would not be my first vacation in a region turned newsworthy because of unrest.
Now I could add Nepal to my list of risky vacation spots; three weeks after Maoist guerillas broke a four-month truce with the government, the king declared a state of emergency.
The State Department advised against traveling to Nepal. Yet, when I compared the locations of the troubled territories concentrated in the east and west, to the largely central towns and cities listed on my itinerary, I did not find a single match.
Next, I followed every Nepal news story for two weeks leading up to my departure and learned that the terrorist group – estimated at 5,000 in a country of 24 million people – was not targeting tourists.
Finally, I booked my trip with an experienced, reputable company with little to gain by willfully placing its customers in harm’s way. I interpreted receipt of my air tickets as a green light.
Was I at risk by traveling to Nepal? Yes. Was it inordinate? I concluded no more so than if I had visited an American city experiencing a wave of drug-related killings. Was it worth it? Absolutely. And not only because I lived to tell about it.
My travel decisions are among my many moment-by-moment opportunities to responsibly exercise my risk muscle and protect it from atrophy caused by imagined fears.
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