Cautionary messages when traveling

This Wednesday, we’re headed to Colombia for an early start to our extended Memorial Day weekend. I’ve gotten quite a lot of responses to this destination, everything from excitement to envy to downright, “Are you crazy? why are you going there?” A customer said he didn’t think it was safe for us to go there and said he’d never in his life want to go there and was happy just where he was; a partner suggested I watch my back and my purse at all costs. A colleague suggested I be careful and not drink any of the water there.

I’ve gotten all kinds of cautionary messages when traveling everywhere from China to India to Brazil. A friend who was worried about traveling to India kept recounting all the rapes of women and tourists there from media reports, and that even when accompanied by a man, it doesn’t make it safe for a woman to be walking around in the streets of India (in other words, just because I’m with Chris doesn’t mean I will no longer be a “target”). In general, I’d like to think I’m not a “dumb tourist” in that I always keep my purse in front of me, and I never flash a lot of cash in public or wear obviously expensive jewelry when traveling. But most of the time, I try not to think about that kind of stuff. It’s not that I’m being ignorant to the warnings, but rather I know that if I think about it too much, I will start getting nervous, and it would probably ruin my trip. I can’t foresee the future, and I can’t predict what bad things will happen because bad things happen around me every single day no matter where I am. Even though I consider New York City an extremely safe city to live in and walk around at all hours of the day and night, I still hear about friends of friends or acquaintances who have had their iPhones or other expensive electronics stolen from them, a few right out of their hands on the subway or on the subway platform. What are we going to do about that?

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