On Monday October 27th I will cross the proverbial “pond” for the first time in my life. I am venturing to France to visit my sister for a week who is studying abroad in Rennes. There are plenty of emotions flowing through me as this will be an unforgettable and new experience to enjoy. However; those things being said, I’ve been asked numerous times by those close to me if I am nervous to travel abroad given the current state of the world. Being that I am involved in writing for Can the Man my brain is constantly swimming with the news of incidents outside the United States. I suppose in a way I am afraid of what could happen, but I am more concerned that harboring the fear of these improbable events will supersede my ability to enjoy this once in a lifetime trip.
The world isn’t a stable place, we all know this. The United States is a country where most of the population has lived in fear since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. We’ve been culturally conditioned by the mainstream media and our government to mistrust people based on their ethnicity, religion, and appearance. Our minds have been subconsciously infiltrated with this idea of “fearing” the possibility of tragedy and that we should live differently because of this. This is detailed perfectly in the airports where TSA agents can essentially grope travelers all in the name of “safety.” There are metal detectors at sporting events at nearly every level, and there is always the continued infiltration of private communications by the NSA.
So, in advance of this trip, I’ve committed myself to being open-minded, trusting, and non-judgmental. If I let fear of Ebola, ISIS, or any array of other things overcome my mind—I have let the Man win. Most of these fears are fueled by endless media coverage that stirs the pot of hysteria and drives conversation about the state of the world. The planet isn’t a scary place, but we’ve been conditioned to believe that it is. If you are constantly afraid of the miniscule probability of these things impacting your life directly, you will never live life to the fullest. Cliché as it sounds, it is true. This has never been clearer to me—life is meant to be lived and I won’t let CNN or FoxNews or any politicians scare me. For quite a long time I have been hesitant to travel the world due to the projected risks of doing so. I’m ready for this wonderful adventure to start, and can’t wait to finally experience a sliver of what the rest of the world can offer.