Travel and terrorism: A safe combination?

By Anna Ley

It’s the question on every parent’s mind before bidding farewell to their children as they venture on their cross-globe gap year.

Earlier this November, suspected driver Sayfullo Saipov and his truck tore through lower Manhattan, killing eight and injuring eleven. While Saipov may have been shot dead at the scene, the alarm of the attack is still very much alive, festering a new-found fear within us all. We pity and then we panic. And when we panic, we tend to think irrationally, perpetuating the panic. Statistics suggest that you are more likely to die from a TV falling on you than in a terrorist act. And yet the thought of travelling within the terrorist-torn world in which we live traumatises the minds of many young avid travellers who are rocked by the relentless headlines of such cases. However, it is arguably this very climate that dictates why travelling is today has become even more vital.

We pity and then we panic. And when we panic, we tend to think irrationally, perpetuating the panic.

Reminiscent of Westminster and Nice, the New York attacks have rounded off a new age of terrorism defined by truck rampages. A scarily mundane method that is easy to execute, difficult to intercept and even more tough to detect a trail of organisation, therefore ensuring that the once distant and seemingly fictional acts of terrorism are now far more comprehensible. It is such comprehendible distress that deters many from venturing beyond the comforts of their own home and into the vibrancy beyond.

However, this fear is the very adrenaline that is fuelling terrorists. By allowing ourselves to be consumed by it, we are satisfying their desire to create terror and therefore legitimising their campaign. Hearing about crises, such as the New York attacks, stirs a sense of helplessness, a helplessness that you can prevent by not allowing the headline-induced hysteria corrupt your travelling horizons. By voyaging to a terrorist torn country, you can help to deter their dominance of that nation by allowing their tourism economy to re-flourish.

By allowing ourselves to be consumed by [the fear], we are satisfying their desire to create terror and therefore legitimising their campaign

It is too easy to give in, give up and not get out. Routine is the best resistance to terrorism, so get packing and travel beyond the trepidation that merely tantalises them to reattack.

Photograph: Cedric H. Rudisill via Flickr Creative Commons

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