Why We Should Travel Now

I didn't hear the news of Paris until I arrived home, in Florence, late that Friday night. I'd spent the evening outside of the walls of my city, high on a hill overlooking the countryside. I was the only American at a dinner party consisting of people from many countries. We came together to celebrate the new olive oil, and, in doing so, shared lively conversation and laughter for hours.

The news of Paris stung as I sat alone on my couch and felt the gravity of another act of terrorism.
Social media responded with force, imploring us to pray for Paris. Pushback on immigration and refugees thrived, and fear took a measured grip on major cities throughout the world. Did it take a grip on each of us as well?

I say the antidote to terrorism is travel. Locking our doors, closing the windows, and turning on the barrage of sensational news, only creates a climate where fears grow.

Travel.

The first two months I lived in Florence, I only shopped at a small grocery store behind the Duomo. It rarely had everything I needed to make a meal, but it had something I needed more ... a friendly face at the cash register. Throughout the days, when I didn't know another person in the city, this beautiful woman from India would look up at me with recognition, and smile as I would
enter the store. A connection, however small, that made a difference in my day.

Travel.

Enough with the tourist vs. traveler debate ... we are all tourists. Some are better tourists than others, but getting outside of our culture and comfort makes us an outsider. It requires our humility; to ask for what we don't know, to accept a different norm, to value our similarities.

Travel.

In the face of violent hatred we are inclined to feel paralyzed and seek comfort in the familiar. Is it safe to travel now? I've answered that question many times this week. I say it is. Cautiously, of course, but rationally and intelligently, travel.

And while some may cancel their plans to visit Paris, Rome or London this year, I encourage you not to. See these cities that have existed for centuries, throughout history with thriving cultures and people! Return to the place you call home, with new eyes and new understanding.

We have strength in numbers to come together and not be afraid. We have strength in unity to continue to embrace the freedom and joys found in traveling to new places, meeting new people.
Mark Twain said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."

Travel.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

  • Ireland
    "My Grandparents were both born there and I've dreamed about going since I was a kid," said reader Dana Beckman.
    Giuseppe Milo/500px
    "My Grandparents were both born there and I've dreamed about going since I was a kid," said reader Dana Beckman.
  • Chicago
    Wrigley Field is a must-see, according to reader Linda Stark.
    Getty Images
    Wrigley Field is a must-see, according to reader Linda Stark.
  • Bora Bora
    Reader Mona G. Low would love to stay in "one of those thatched huts over the turquoise ocean."
    M Swiet Productions
    Reader Mona G. Low would love to stay in "one of those thatched huts over the turquoise ocean."
  • Scotland
    Several readers said they would love to visit this northern gem because of their ancestry.
    Buena Vista Images
    Several readers said they would love to visit this northern gem because of their ancestry.
  • Paris
    The Louvre Museum would be reader Susan Ayers--Taylor's first stop in the city of lights. "I have wanted to go there since I
    José Ramirez/500px
    The Louvre Museum would be reader Susan Ayers--Taylor's first stop in the city of lights. "I have wanted to go there since I was 12, which was 44 years ago!"
  • Russia
    Reader Kimberly Minton-Freeman would love to visit Russia because it's her daughter's birthplace.
    Alejandro Cupi/500px
    Reader Kimberly Minton-Freeman would love to visit Russia because it's her daughter's birthplace.
  • Hawaii
    Several of our readers have been to the 50th state and dream of going back again to take in the natural beauty.
    Alamy
    Several of our readers have been to the 50th state and dream of going back again to take in the natural beauty.
  • Moab, Utah
    The Arches National Park is a must-see according to several readers.
    Shutterstock / Manamana
    The Arches National Park is a must-see according to several readers.
  • Syria
    Reader Syeda Jafri would love to visit Syria and see its many sacred sites.
    jasminam
    Reader Syeda Jafri would love to visit Syria and see its many sacred sites.
  • Switzerland
    "I would love to go to Switzerland so I can finish my family tree on my father's side. I found my ancestors on my mom's side
    Shutterstock / ariadna de raadt
    "I would love to go to Switzerland so I can finish my family tree on my father's side. I found my ancestors on my mom's side were royalty in Ireland and lived in Cudzow Castle, but I haven't been able to find anything on dad's side before my great grandfather came through Ellis Island from Switzerland," said reader Linda Wepf Johnstone.
  • Turkey
    The country that's known as the bridge between the east and west is on Syeda Jafri's bucket list because of its beauty.
    Bertl123
    The country that's known as the bridge between the east and west is on Syeda Jafri's bucket list because of its beauty.
  • England
    "The fact I fell in love with the Beatles when I was eight" makes England a top choice for reader Audra Dee.
    José Ramirez/500px
    "The fact I fell in love with the Beatles when I was eight" makes England a top choice for reader Audra Dee.
  • Las Vegas
    Reader Tammy Lumsden wants to go back to Sin City because there's always something new to see and never enough time to see it
    Shutterstock / Jorg Hackemann
    Reader Tammy Lumsden wants to go back to Sin City because there's always something new to see and never enough time to see it all.
  • Egypt
    Egypt's rich history and breathtaking monuments make it a top spot on any bucket list.
    Getty Images/Flickr RF
    Egypt's rich history and breathtaking monuments make it a top spot on any bucket list.
  • Alaska
    A few readers mentioned wanting to go to the northernmost state because it was the only one they haven't yet visited.
    Getty Images/Flickr RF
    A few readers mentioned wanting to go to the northernmost state because it was the only one they haven't yet visited.
  • The Sahara Desert
    Reader Brenda English would love to take a photography safari in the beautiful desert.
    Guido Todarello/500px
    Reader Brenda English would love to take a photography safari in the beautiful desert.
  • Costa Rica
    Reader Franci Zalon wants to visit this Central American country known for its rich wildlife.
    Franklin Garcia/500px
    Reader Franci Zalon wants to visit this Central American country known for its rich wildlife.