“Are you worried about the most recent travel ban restricting citizens of 7 countries from entering the United States?“ is a question we’ve been getting lately. There are a lot of things I am nervous about but not that one. Generally, people ask because they wonder if we will have a bigger target on our backs — as Americans — or if it makes it more difficult to travel in certain countries. Maybe.
Travelers are always a target but more often because of their wealth not their country of origin. During our first world trip (2005), Audrey was pick-pocketed in China and lost her camera. A few weeks later while standing in Red Square someone tried to cut into her pack and she turned around and caught him. Those instances weren’t because we were Americans but because we had something of value. In some places, the stuff in my pack will have more financial value than what an entire family owns. And there is a small, very small, percentage of people who want to transfer that wealth from my pack to theirs.
Having traveled to 33 countries and 36 States, I can confidently say that most people are good and honest. However, that doesn’t stop me from keeping my eyes open and my ears perked for that rare instance when something could happen. I have told the boys that there is a chance we could have everything stolen so we need to pay attention. Thieves take advantage of situations such as when you are tired, distracted, or confused. We need to be aware. Same thing for terrorist activities.
I flew into Moscow less than 24 hours after that airport was bombed in 2011, was in Turkey in 2005 when an explosion went off in another part of country and in Prague a few weeks later when London was bombed. There is no doubt these actions make someone pause. They made me. However, statistically there is a greater chance of getting killed by a car than a terrorist. In a 2016 study by the Cato Institute, the odds of death by Terrorism is 1 in 45,808 versus 1 in 113 for motor vehicle incidents. While traveling through Vietnam, we witnessed 9 accidents with one being fatal. Heck, the odds of being killed while bicycling is 1 in 4,337. That is where I should really worry.
Granted, some countries are not as safe as others and we will make informed decisions prior to entering the higher-risk areas such as Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, or Turkey. As of now, we understand and accept the risk but political climates changes, wars break out, and radicalism increases. Again, we need to be aware. Think of where several of the last bombings were. Night clubs. With two kids, we likely won’t be going out drinking and dancing.
Given our current political climate, it may be safer where WE are going.