Life, Travel and the Culture of Fear
Find your comfort zone. Then leave it.
In the last couple of years, we have been inundated with news discussing the “violent and terrible” situation Mexico is going thru. As a result, many travel bloggers have written one version or another of a post titled “Is it safe to travel to Mexico?” I am not interested in writing about that topic.
In the same line, there are numerous posts assuring travelers how it is perfectly fine to visit “dangerous” countries like Colombia, Israel, Honduras and even Puerto Rico. I don’t even know why I am mentioning particular countries. It is like every place in the planet outside the US and Western Europe is a no go zone. Again, these are not topics I am interesting in discussing.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not indifferent to the current situation of some parts in the world. I have passionately preached about the great qualities of the countries I have visited. After telling my experiences, sharing photos and expressing my desire to go back, a considerable amount of people tell me: “I don’t know how you had the guts to set foot on that place.” The most surprising aspect is hearing people native to the country I visited saying I am “painting a fake picture” of reality. Yes, I have fought the “that country is safe” battle and lost too many times.
However, there is a hard lesson I had to realize.
It is said that ignorance is daring: I cannot find more truth in that little quote. Ignorance makes you say, do and believe things that are totally far from reality. What is more, ignorance will make you be loud, cocky, defiant, dramatic or fervent about things outside your expertise. It is a constant repetition of what was heard on the news, what a friend told you or what everybody is talking on Facebook. It is not my intention to call people ignorant in a spurt of rage. If you think about it, we are ignorant in one topic or another. It is not possible to have all the wisdom or knowledge in the world.
The interesting thing is that there are actual facts about the situations people love to take out of proportion. But for some reason, there is some allure in believing and spreading the distorted reality. Why that happens? My personal opinion is that there are many people working towards perpetuating a culture of fear (not necessarily on a conscious level).
If you are decided to do something new, different or unusual, detractors will put a lot of effort in dissuading you. They are going to try to instill fear in an effort to take your mind out of your “daring” attitude. “It is not possible to get out of your comfort zone. The consequences are disastrous,” they will say.
The worst part is that this approach extends to all aspects of our lives. How many times have you been criticized or mocked for wanting to go against the current? The safe place, physical or mental, is defended with weapons of mass destruction.
I am not into spreading this culture of fear. If you talk and talk about and issue, it will spread like a wildfire. And it will take everything on its way without compassion. I am interested in getting to those willing to give “different, positive ways of thought” a chance. I choose to focus on attitudes that bring change and in real experiences that say more than a thousand words.
Today, I challenge you to “try to see things from another perspective,” “break the mold,” or “get outside the box.” Go and grab the facts. Stop repeating how dangerous it is to go to college, move to another part of the country, get a new job or go to country x. There is risk in everything we do but if we make a true effort to inform ourselves that risk can be minimized. The results may surprise you. Your comfort zone is going to expand! What was once scary will be no more.
You know I don’t sugarcoat things. We can talk about certain topics and I will give you my honest opinion. I talk and write from the heart trying not to perpetuate useless thoughts. Hope none of you have to live inside a bubble of fear.
What are you doing to diminish the culture of fear? Let me know in the comments section below.