A few people have asked (especially recently) if I feel safe travelling solo abroad (either due to the political climate here in the US or with incidents occurring in cities). My answer is a resounding YES. Here’s why.
First, let’s get the political nonsense out of the way. Regardless of your political beliefs, I’ve never met anyone who associated me personally with Trump. It’s always been an inquisitive manner when I get asked “what do you think about Trump?” The people I meet have been curious about the state of US politics and you’ll be amazed as to how much foreigners know and understand our politicians. However, people are smart and they know the difference between you and the policies of the administration and they can differentiate between the two. You have to understand that to most people, Trump is a TV star and they know very little about him and they’re curious to know more. That’s it. I’ve never felt more or less safe overseas before or after the election.
In terms of safety, it’s important to understand that the US tends to sensationalize the news whenever anything occurs overseas. Chaos, pandemonium, turmoil, etc are all words that are used to describe acts of terrorism. However, if you look at the news media of that country, their take is drastically different. People overseas tend to laugh when they see how the US media covers certain events and the sensationalism involved. Yes, terrorism is horrific. Yes, the death of innocent humans is terrible. But that doesn’t mean that the city you live in is safer than the city abroad. This could happen anywhere at anytime. Are you going to just stay home for the rest of your life or take a page out from the Brits and say “stay calm and carry on”?
This brings me to my final point. Many tourist are more afraid of coming to the US than they are of travelling in their own country. And the gun laws have a lot to do with it. Remember that gun ownership is a really foreign idea in many countries so the fact that we can have them here so openly is scary. I’ve met people who would easily walk through a city in the middle of night without a care in the world who wouldn’t dare leave their hotel after the sun sets here. The mindset is different.
Travelling allows us to experience new cultures and see the world through a different lens. Sure there’s a risk of something happening but that’s true in all aspects of our life. Have some common sense and be open to experiencing something new. You could almost argue that travelling and experiencing foreign cultures is more important today so we can learn from and about each other. Safety is never a guarantee but I won’t let that deter me from my travels.