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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

Is the World So Scary I Should Stop Travelling?

Why I was never admitted to art school. #altrape

I am often asked similar questions. As a prolific traveller, I am lucky enough to receive quite a lot of messages from fellow travellers and wannabe travellers from around the world. Most people ask for travel tips, but as of lately I have received a lot of questions dealing with safety.

There has never been a time where I have encouraged people to let terror threats, hateful speeches or threatening rhetorics stop them from travelling. If people do, these individuals have won by restricting our freedom.

In 2015 I wrote “Why Terrorism Should Not Stop You From Travelling“, and I will repeat a paragraph from there.

Let not terrorists stop us from roaming this world, seeking experiences and learning to know, understand and appreciate other cultures. Because travel generates a mutual understanding like no other method known to mankind. In between individuals, cultures, nations, religions and faiths. I truly believe that this world will be a better place if more people travel, interact with each other and are open to thoughts different to their own. That can only lead to more respect, more friendship and more mutual smiles.

The most dangerous thing we encountered in Iran was our taxi driver. It turned out his vision was so bad he needed eye-drops every 20 minutes to keep driving.

But something has changed since then. As of November, quite a few people I hear from are even scared to travel to the USA, thanks to a certain elected leader. You may claim that the US has never really been particularly safe due to a huge number of accidents and widespread gun usage and violence. America, the continent, has 92 % of the world’s most lethal cities. And United States of America, the country, is home to four out of the 50 cities on the list, or 8 %. We are still talking about a huge country with almost 325 million people, but at least people didn’t feel threatened by the president there, up until now. I mean, you don’t have to live in the US to pick up on or even feel the scaremongering, the threats, the supression of people and the lies.

In Equatorial Guinea, nothing scared me more than the police. They even pointed at me with that huge gun. I swiftly jumped around the corner.

Media from all over the world reports on the alternative right and alternative facts and leave people far far from the borders of the United States shaking heads, dropping jaws and shedding real tears. But is it really #altright or #altfacts we are witnessing? Sadly it looks more like #altrape, judging by Trump’s first few days in office and his speeches, Tweets and behaviour in general before inauguration day. Democracy, environment, women, NGOs and the ordinary tax payer are only some of the many he has attacked directly or indirectly.

I will be surprised if the number of travellers to the US continue rising much the next few years. Fear was never much of a tourist attraction, even though a celebrity gone president might be. There are many more countries that are far more interesting and far more different to your own than the US. If you can afford travelling there, you can most likely afford exploring less known parts of the world too. Maybe even the least-visited countries on the planet. But if you want to go to the US, you should.

Neither terrorists nor bullies-in-chief should stop you from persuing the art of travelling to whichever destination you chose.

But, and there is a big but.

Tourists can help send a big message to the US by not travelling there, thus not leaving their money – given the alternative rapes of the new president. He wants to make America great again, and by America he means United States of America only, not the 34 other American countries. As long as he goes about it in such a degrading and anything but constructive manner, why should we help him?

The US is currently the second most visited country in the world (second to France only), with 70 million visitors a year. How about if we stop going there? Trump doesn’t care about anybody but the US, judging by his inauguration speech. There is no reason for us to assist him in his demeaning efforts in any way.

Happy travels.

P.S. Due to my complete lack of drawing skills, I needed some models. The Republican elephant is inspired by Bryant Arnold. Trump is inspired by the many cartoons in The Economist.

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