When I heard the news about the attacks on Brussels, my heart was saddened by the violence. As with many times of any terror attacks, I thought of the victims, the residents of the city and the friends and families of those affected by the attacks.
The difference wit the Brussel attacks is that Neal and I were exploring Brussels the day before, and flew out of the airport a few hours before the attacks on Tuesday morning. When I heard the news, it was a surreal shock. We were just at that airport. We had just explored that city. We were just navigating metro and train system.
We were just there. We just spent the day exploring Brussels, eating waffles, drinking beer and seeing the sights of the lovely European city.
If the terrorists had decided on Monday morning rather than Tuesday morning for the attacks, we would have been impacted. Or if the terrorists decided on Monday rush hour rather than Tuesday morning we were on the train making our way back to the airport.
If we had flown via a different airport. If the attacks happened on a different day all together.
The biggest (yet smallest) point to consider in this is the word: ‘If’.
If’ opens the idea of other possibilities or of other outcomes. If has us wondering of different paths, or what could have been.
I’ll admit to you, my beloved readers, that there was a split second, when we were safely in Rome enjoying the sights when I just wanted to head home to Wales. I felt nervous and even a bit of anxiety of being in such a public place at a heightened security level. And then, I realised how wrong that was. We needed to continue to experience the world, to live and create memories. The minute that we allow the questions and fears take over, terror , anxiety and hatred wins.
Traveling allows us to learn and experience new cultures. Traveling gives us insight, respect and appreciation for history and art and the world’s religions. As we travel, we learn more about ourselves, we create new experiences and we have the wonderful opportunity to grow.
For my readers who are travelers, let’s keep on grabbing our passports and experience the world. We need to keep exploring, to learn, to grow and be wonderfully inspired. As we continue to travel, our horizons will continue to grow and expand, and we will become even more open and accepting of others. (amazing side effect of traveling!)
For my readers who want to travel, but have fear or hesitations…. I encourage you to overcome the fear and to eventually jump onto a plane and explore. Be smart, be aware but grow to be an engaged traveler.
My thoughts are with those in Brussels, and around the world, where senseless violence shakes daily routines and has us wonder what ‘if’.