On the second day of our trip we were in Bangkok, Thailand and as we headed out for a lovely meal we noticed the awful traffic and an unusual number of emergency vehicles attempting to get past the stationary traffic. We thought nothing of it until we had finished our meal and were in the lift about to leave the restaurant. A gentleman in the lift then started chatting to us about a bomb attack that had just occurred down the road. We rushed back to our hotel and were greeted with a number of missed calls and messages from friends and family who were desperate to hear from us. Of course we were lucky to not be involved in the awful terrorist attack, but I couldn’t believe only two days into our travels and our family and friends were worrying about our safety.
Our first experience of a stranger’s kindness and friendliness was in Munnar, India. We asked a man from a local village to take us for a walk up their mountain so we could see the beautiful views. He met us at our hostel and as we walked past his village he picked up a packed breakfast for us. I commented on his lovely home to which he asked us both in for a cup of tea with his wife and daughter. Their home consisted of two small rooms, one was the kitchen, the other the lounge with a bed in. You could tell how proud he was of his home which had electricity and a TV with 100 channels. Moments like these are my favourite thing about travelling. Seeing people in their own culture, usually with a lot less than we have, and happy to share their pleasures with you. I wonder if this is where most of the stigmas stem from when it comes to unsafe travelling. Maybe people in first world countries assume that those in poorer countries will be desperate for what we have and will want to steal it from us. This certainly wasn’t our experience in SE Asia.
Now I’m not completely naive, I know bad things happen to some people when travelling, I know things get stolen, and sometimes worse, but don’t these things happen in your home country too? France, which has always been viewed as a really safe place (especially by our family members who holiday there every year) has had some of the worst terrorist attacks in Europe in the past few years. Does that mean people should stop going on holiday to France?
In a flat where Joe and I lived in Sheffield a girl’s murdered body was found two weeks ago. Awful things happen in the world in every country but is that a reason not to travel? If so, maybe it´s time we stop leaving our front doors?
So is travelling safe?
Our experience in India and SE Asia suggests it is! Of course, you will do some crazy activities and meet some people you won´t like and who are only after getting money out of you but generally, the people we met were beautiful, kind, special people who have been a huge part in creating some of the most magical moments and memories we will ever have.