Tim Wood | July 18, 2016 4:13 PM ET
It's Not Easy to Outlast That Please-Don't-Go Moment
I did something Thursday night that for years I have preached not to do.
I flinched. A terrorist made me flinch when it comes to travel. The Bastille Day attack in Nice that killed 84 people reveling on the Promenade des Anglais – a majority of them, children.
The first thing I thought of when I saw the initial reports was my TravelPulse cohort and close friend Barry Kaufman. He was scheduled to travel to Nice the next day, a full Kaufman family reunion in a region of France Barry’s mother had come to love years ago. That love has spread through the Kaufman family tree as she has brought family members there through the years.
This would be the first trip there for Barry, his wife and three children.
Rolling Stone put out a compilation a few years back, the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. I downloaded every song and gave them to my son T.J. when he first began to show an interest in music. If you want to talk about Justin Bieber or Alabama Shakes to me, listen to this first.
It was essential education that I was overjoyed to see he embraced, and as a result, it widened his appreciation and knowledge base. So the next time he throws musical hyberbole at me for debate, I at least know we’re starting from informed opinions.
If we were to put out such a list for travel, Nice and the French Riviera would be in the mix. Every trip I take is special in its own way, but the people and the way of life in Nice imprints on your soul. There is such a joy there, such a timeless energy that evades proper description. You must experience it to truly understand.
And yet, my first instinct Thursday was to tell Barry, “Please don’t go.”
It’s a reaction I have heard many times from close family. When I went to France just weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, I faced that reaction and had to do plenty of reassuring. (That these attacks have become so common that we narrow the description to locales instead of countries is itself depressing.)
Don't think for a moment I wasn't scared. I nearly canceled that trip three times. But oh my, am I so glad I didn't.
When Turkey was added to the itinerary during my Carnival Vista tour of Europe, I again faced the protests of fear from family. In deflecting those concerns, it just felt like such a given. I live what I preach. We must keep traveling. It’s not about letting the terrorists win. It’s about what we lose if and when we cower in fear.
That defiance was not there Thursday night. Instead, I found myself thinking of our kids playing together on Park Circle. I reflected on my Barry Kaufman bromance and the rarity of finding a kindred spirit and true friend in a world full of phonies and selfishness. And in that moment, a surge of selfishness overcame me.
Don’t go. Yeah, yeah, it’s random and lightning strikes or shark attacks are more common than terrorism strikes. Sure, got it. Just let’s avoid the possibility. Don’t go.
I soon found out I wasn’t alone in this reaction. For Barry and his family, it was an appreciated sentiment but a foolish request. As Barry said on Facebook, “Of course I’m going. It would be an insult not to.”
When you avoid the possibility of bad things happening, you’re exponentially limiting the possibilities of wonderful experiences that can and will alter the way you live your life.
This is the message, folks. I get the cynics that tell me I’m just shilling for the travel industry. And so what if I am? I have had 100 times more positive influences on my life working three years in the travel industry than I did in my first four decades on Earth combined. To so many of these folks, this isn’t just a job – they revel in their ability to make dreams come true and to make a lifelong positive impact on visitors.
And then there are the folks like the carpet weaver I met in Kusadasi, Turkey. Her life is lived in 15-minute increments. In those bursts, she fights through the excruciating toll weaving such intricate masterpieces takes on her hands. She can work just two hours a day and it can take up to two years for her to finish each rug. But that pain and rigorous work keep her family together under one roof. Meeting her was a master class in dedication and pride in one’s craft.
So the military coup in Turkey and the terror attack on Istanbul hit me more personally. She has spent a lifetime living through this infighting and thriving nonetheless, but attacks like this at a time when Turkey tourism was just beginning to rebound from fear, it threatens her livelihood.
It’s why we keep sending this message. So many of you have told me that you’ve lived vicariously through reading about our adventures on TravelPulse. Stop living vicariously. Overcome the fear, outlast those “Please don’t go” moments and open yourself up to the positivity of possibility.
The world is truly a better place every time you have the courage to take that new adventure.
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