The World is Dangerous, But I Won’t Stop Traveling

When I graduated from my small hometown high school in rural central Wisconsin I set my sights on getting as far away from the life I’d always known. I loved where I came from but I knew I wanted (and needed) something completely different for this next step in my life. So I chose to attend one the biggest universities in the state, in the biggest city in the state. When I started telling people I would be going to college at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee everyone asked me, “isn’t it dangerous there?” or “are you sure you’ll feel safe there?”

the-world-is-dangerousMy answer was always the same. “Yes, it is dangerous in Milwaukee.”Β Last year, Milwaukee was named the 7th most dangerous city in America. I knew about the city and its crime when I registered to be a student there. While it’s never something that’s great to hear, I still went to school there. It was what I wanted and it was what fit my career path. Completely changing my schooling on account of what “might” or “could” happen seemed just silly to me.

In my 4 years living in Milwaukee, I was never robbed, my was car never broken into, I was never threatened, harassed, shot at, raped or injured. That doesn’t mean Milwaukee is completely safe because as I just told you, it’s definitely not.

Angkor Wat So how did I stay safe in such a dangerous place?

I was vigilant in common sense ways. I avoided known “bad areas”, especially at night. I didn’t walk through the streets or back alleys alone at night. I left literally nothing in my car. I never got ridiculously black out wasted to the point where I couldn’t make sound decisions.

The things I do to keep myself safe at home are the same things I do to keep myself safe while traveling all around the world.

Shortly into my college career I began traveling internationally quite extensively. Once again, everyone asked me if it was really safe to be doing that — traveling to all these 3rd world communist countries.Β Was it really safe for me, a young female, to be traveling around the world where I wouldn’t know the people or the language?Β Wasn’t the water unsafe? Aren’t there drugs there? couldn’t you be raped, robbed, or killed?

Chewacla State ParkYes, the water is unsafe. Yes, there are lot of drugs there, and yes, I could be raped or killed. All of those things are potential dangers. But here I am writing this post, safely behind my computer, after having traveled to over a dozen countries in the world.

I’m not saying if you’re smart bad things won’t ever happen. Bad things happen every day for no reason that we can comprehend, but we still wake up and take part in the world.

BaliYes, the world is dangerous. It always has been and it always will be to a certain extent. You don’t need to travel to a big city or around the world to be in danger. Walking out your door, getting in your car, and just flat out participating in life is dangerous.

Letting the possibility of what “might happen” change your decisions is a really sad way to live. The amount of scenarios that could come from one single decision are endless. If you’re lucky enough to find what makes your soul happy don’t let what anyone says stop you from doing it.

Dominican Republic I’m not saying buy a one-way ticket to Syria or Sudan (I mean come on now). I’m saying danger is inevitable, but if something brings you joy, have the courage to reach out and grab it – even if it’s a little “dangerous”.

If being a pilot makes you happy, you should fly those planes. If being a race car driver makes you happy, you should race those cars. If travel makes your soul smile like it does mine, then you need to travel; despite the dangers that “might” happen along the way.

The world we live in is unsafe. Should it keep us from traveling? I don't think so, and this is why.

Does danger in the world ever make you think about not traveling?

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  • i have nothing to say to this except i agree wholeheartedly! a little common sense goes a long way, and unfortunately if something bad is going to happen, it will happen whether you’re smart about it or not. no point giving up on dreams ‘just in case something bad happens’.

    • Exactly Kristen! so many bad situations i hear about on the news are the result of someone who let their common sense fly out the window. It’s really too bad.

  • I love everything about this post so much! When we went to Oktoberfest earlier this year, my husband was really apprehensive about going because of potential terrorist attacks happening in such a popular venue. He almost told me that we might not go because he didn’t want to be worried. My response to him was that we had just as big of a chance of having something like that happen to us at home as we did in Europe, and that if we stop living our lives then the terrorists win. You can’t stop living your life or traveling because of fear! You just have to be smart and vigilant, like you said!

    • Ah yes! I didn’t even think of that, but you’re completely right! Think if you would have passed on that awesome experience at Oktoberfest?! as long as we’re breathing there is always going to be some risks involved, even in our everyday lives.

  • Aside from the water, you face all those same threats in this country! We can’t let fear keep us from adventures and great experiences..so glad you haven’t let it stop you!

  • Great post! I remember hearing that it was dangerous where I chose to go to college, and yet I imagine it was nothing compared to Milwaukee. And then my husband and I found ourselves in Paris this summer during the Nice attacks. Of course my parents called worried to death that the attack had actually occurred in Paris. I’m glad I haven’t run into any major problems while traveling, but like you, I think the experience is always worth the risk. My husband is constantly reminding me and our families that we are less likely to be in a terrorist attack than in a car accident. And yet not even that seems to quell their fears.

    • SO true about the car accident statistic, Mandy! way waaaay more likely to happen than a terrorist attack. Yet we all get in our cars and drive to work every morning. not doing so would be silly.

  • So so true! Not wanting to get all yolo here but in the end life is pretty short and we ought to do what makes us happy πŸ™‚

  • I couldn’t agree more. When I applied to be a volunteer in Ecuador in 2008, some members of my family were really very concerned and even expressed those concerns to my parents and asked why they were letting me go. But I went anyway and had a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to the world. I refuse to let what could happen prevent me from experiencing the world. #wanderfulwednesday

    • That’s incredible, Allison! I’ve always wanted to volunteer abroad! a friend of mine did some mission work in El Salvador and of course everyone was so scared about letting her go. She kept telling everyone that these places we think are “not safe” are the places that need our help the most. She was so right and the experience was life changing for her.

      • It was a great experience for me and really opened my eyes to a world outside my own little circle.

  • Yes to all of this! There are definitely dangers in the world (and, well, anytime you do ANYTHING, even in your hometown!), but that doesn’t stop me from taking appropriate caution and going out anyway. My parents didn’t want me to study abroad in London while in college because it is such a large city–I ended up living through the 7/7/2005 terrorist attack there which only reinforced their fears. While I hated that experience, it also made me double down on the fact that I wasn’t going to sit at home and be scared. I’m all about doing what makes me happy even if it does come with risks!

    • Glad to hear it, Natalie! Good for you! My sister just moved to London for Grad School. Actually, she moved to London from Africa so London was actually a big improvement for our family and our worries for her. LOL. perspective is everything!

  • This is a great post Carrie, and it’s so true! I think America as a whole though, just has a very narrow view of the world and believes all the bad stories. I mean yes, there are horrible stories, but that’s why they’re in the news. There are also a million good stories for each bad one that we will never hear on the news. And other countries think America is unsafe too because of all the gun violence! And really, you just need to exercise common sense and you’ll be completely fine!

    • Such a good point, Anna! Americans think so many places are “unsafe” but alot of times that assumption is built off of one story they heard in the news that happened one time soooo many years ago. It’s really too bad actually.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with all of this! Couldn’t have put it better myself. Yes we can do our best to mitigate risks but ultimately I firmly believe that anything bad can happen to anyone at any time and we just have to try and live our best lives amongst that! We were in Paris during the attacks and worried a few people but thanks to the internet we could let others know we were safe. And at the time nobody thought Paris was a dangerous destination.