It seems that this past year has been one full of terror in our world. Despite these tragic attacks, next week will be the six-month mark since me and my partner left home for an indefinite life on the road. Besides spending six weeks in Morocco, we have traveled through Europe the entire time.
The first wave of terror hit us the night we landed in Istanbul on November 13, the night of the Paris attacks. I won't deny we were shaken. I distinctly remember the eerie feeling between our group as we walked down the crowded and infamous Istiklal Street at night.
Our parents were scared for us, we were nervous in crowded places and you could feel the tension from the locals as just simple loud sounds from wheelbarrows made everyone jump. Despite this, we caught up with old Turkish friends, straddled two continents at once and relived old memories in one of our favorite big cities.
After 10 days, we left Istanbul and continued to travel through Turkey for another four weeks. If I had given in to terror and fear right then, I would have never realized that Turkey is one of my most favorite countries in the world.
Then, on January 12, 2016, it happened again. We were waiting for our flight from Rome to Marrakech and heard of the Istanbul bombing that killed 10 people. We were shaken once again, but it was not going to stop us from getting on that flight to Morocco.
We traveled this North African country for six more weeks, and never once did I feel endangered. Most recently, we have learned of yet another act of terror in Brussels. I could go on and list all of the awful and atrocious attacks that happened this year, but I want to give you four reasons I am not going to let fear affect my dream to travel the world:
1. I am from a pro-gun nation.
I am from the US, and as much as I love certain aspects of my country, there is no denying that we have a serious gun problem. There were 372 mass shootings in America in 2015. So, why is everyone telling me that I will be safer on my home turf?
According to the CDC, 15- to 24-year-olds in the US are more likely to die from a homicide than heart disease. Now, that's scarier than terrorism.
2. The risk is low.
Statistically speaking, I have a higher chance of dying in car crash, dying from an assault and dying from any kind of fall than dying in a terrorist attack. These have been issues for decades, but they do not keep people from getting in their cars, walking around their towns or leaving their houses.
I have a one in 9.3 million chance of dying in a terrorist attack. So, why should I let the fear of terrorism keep me from traveling any more than the fear of leaving my home?
3. There is too much good in the world.
On a more lighthearted note, there is just too much kindness on this planet to let those few bad apples ruin my experiences. No matter what preconceived notions I have about a country when I arrive, I leave them at the door.
Are all Muslim countries dangerous? No. Is South America scary for solo female travelers? Not from what I've experienced. Throughout my travels, I would say most of the locals I meet are friendly and engaging, and they invite me into their homes with open arms.
4. I will not give in to fear.
The main reason I will keep on traveling is because I will not give in to terrorism. That is exactly what they want. They want people to give in to their fear tactics. They want us to overreact, to fear refugees and to be afraid boarding airplanes.
When I woke up and heard the news of the Brussels attack, I jumped on social media and saw that many people were reconsidering their travel plans this year. In the wake of yet another tragedy, I urge everyone not to give into fear and cancel their trips.
Now, this doesn't mean I'm urging people to hop on the next flight to a country grappling with intense conflict. I just urge you to be open-minded, make informed decisions and don't let fear stop you from seeing the world.
This article was originally published on The World Pursuit.