Many times in our planning and travelling, we’ve been warned off certain places due to apparent safety concerns.
An American couple tried to warn us off going to Guatemala as we were flying there… according to them, North Americans simply don’t head in that direction because of the numerous safety concerns.
Robbery in Bratislava, the risk of terrorism pretty much everywhere, the risk we run by carrying everything we have with us in our packs as we walk through cities at night…
And most recently, the lady that checked us into our hotel in Berlin told us a number of times to be careful with our personal belongings as we moved through the city. She’d heard of a large increase in the incidence of pick pocketing and didn’t want a thief to have a better Christmas at our expense.
Not to mention the Munich underground being shut down on new years eve, just a couple of days after we moved on from the area.
The potential for danger is all around us, and perhaps, because of the media and speed at which information travels online, these concerns seem greater than ever.
I can’t help but feel as though issues can be encountered the world over. Although it’s important to be conscious of what’s happening around you, bad things can happen in ‘safe’ places, and journeys to ‘unsafe’ places generally end up problem-free.
Whilst we’re based in the Middle East, we want to make the most of being closer to a different part of the world by exploring Europe and Africa, but I’ve also had my eye on some spots a bit closer to our new home… Jordan, Egypt, Iran, Palestine and Israel in particular but growing unrest in many of these areas is a bit of a worry.
How do you decide when to pull the plug on a potential holiday destination? Of course there comes a point there the risk outweighs the benefit, but where do you draw that line?
All I know is that our trip to Guatemala ended without any cause for concern; we met a bunch of lovely people and despite our lack of Spanish, not one single person tried to take advantage of us. We felt safe walking quiet streets at night and would go back in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t it be great to tell the couple we met on the plane? They may just have changed their mind about this beautiful country and it’s people.