When I was a kid (and even a young adult) you could go meet your out of town relatives and friends at the airport upon arrival – at the gate (gasp!). Some of you (of a certain age) will recall how easy this was – you just walked into the airport and moseyed on down to the arrival gate and as soon as they emerged from the jetway, it was all hugs and kisses and heading to baggage claim together.
Some of you reading this will simply not be able to picture this – you have no idea what I’m talking about here. But then again, you would also be the ones that never took a flight that had a smoking section (yes, that’s true – you used to be able to smoke on planes and each seat had an ashtray in the armrest).
But we are decades ahead of that now. And I want to spend a few minutes chatting about the state of the world, travel and more than that – safety.
The world has evolved and in most ways with marvelous improvements – computers, cell phones, the internet (and for the men out there – TV remote contols, LOL). And the more we have great advances like these, the ones that make our lives better, the more we look forward to “more” or “faster”.
But one thing some of these advances have impeded, is our ability to be aware of our surroundings. How often do you see people walking with their nose buried in their phones? Or walking/jogging with headphones on?
And add to that that the world had changed. Now, there are truly nefarious people out there that are intent on destruction and causing mass mayhem, damage and instilling fear.
But some things have not changed – we’ve just gotten lulled into a sense of security. Like working around a horse you’ve owned all it’s life and that you know intimately – sometimes we can get “casual” in the way we operate, which can open the door for an injury – even by no fault of your reliable horse – things can just “happen”.
So what’s my point about this and how does it relate to the state of the world?
I spend a lot of time speaking to folks about the safety on our rides. How are we are extremely picky about the horses – that they are healthy, that they have pleasant demeanors, that they are well taken care of, that they are fun to ride (not duds) – but also about the safety of the guides – that they are qualified, that they don’t put you in bad situations, etc.
And even with that – sometimes things happen. Sometimes even the best, most laid back horses spook, or trip, sometimes the trail has a fallen tree since the last week and riders have to go off trail to get around (or, like the ride I took in Seville a few years back when they had R-A-I-N. I mean they had 100% of the annual rainfall in one week – so we had to ride through water up to the horses’ chests at times!) Things happen. They just do.
And just yesterday, the world saw again how things “happen” – but this time intentionally – and our hearts go out to the people in London. With the seeming uptick in nefarious activity around the world (has it really increased or does our instant access to news only raise our awareness to these events? I wonder.), the world looks more and more like a dangerous place.
And we get this question a lot also. Is it safe to travel to (fill in the blank “city”)?
And my answer is unequivocally YES and I’ll elaborate.
You are absolutely no less safe traveling to any city in our cache than you are in any major city in your home state. And in fact, on the riding vacations, you are actually a good amount more safe as they are all conducted in the countryside – away from the major tourist attractions. BUT – and let’s be honest – the main source of travel fear is not so much that you’ll travel to Madrid or London or Paris (all places that have been victimized by terror attacks) and find yourself in the midst of chaos – it’s more that you’ll be far away from home, in a foreign land. And afraid.
And being afraid does not make for a good vacation or travel experience.
And I know you can’t “reason” your way out of fear (if you want to see this in action just be sure to put the smallest of spiders anywhere in my proximity and just wait for me to notice it.) (this includes Daddy Long Legs)
And facts don’t conquer fear – for example, here are the Top 10 Most Likely Ways to Die (according to Marketwatch):
9. Kidney Disease
4. Accident (falls, auto/transport related)
3. Lower Respiratory Disease
1. Heart Disease
No where on this list are the things that strike terror in us like airplane turbulence or a runaway horse. In fact, many of the items on the list can be positively impacted (but not completely alleviated given genetics) by lifestyle changes.
So what do you do?
If your horse bolts and runs away with you, do you get back on and try again? Most folks do, even with trepidation. But what about travel, that’s how I started this missive, after all. What do you do when it comes to travel and the crazy people in the world, bent on harming any and all they can?
In the end, you do what ever it is that helps you feel most comfortable and least afraid – that’s just smart.
But it’s a choice. Just like mounting back up after a fall.