Travels: a Prelude

Oh, my millenial folly. In recent years I’ve worked on restraining oversharing tendencies/ compulsions but I played with the idea of blogging this trip for a while but didn’t have the time whilst actually traveling to blog, so here I am.

I started planning this trip last winter and picked the locales of my 3 week trip in the very early stages of planning. I had originally wanted to pick my way through all the must-see cities and countries of Europe including Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Athens and Berlin. For the sake of reducing travel fatigue and realism, I narrowed down my locales to Paris, London, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Munich.

You may or may not be aware that the usual order of things is typically London first, then Paris instead of Paris then London. I’m not ashamed to admit the reason for this slight abnormality in my own plans is absolutely because I got tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London before I had gotten my plane tickets. So yes, my trip timeline was entirely worked around that date — as well as the dates of Opening Weekend of Oktoberfest in Munich. The new plan for my trip was then based on being in London on the date of my play ticket, being in Munich for Oktoberfest, being in cities geographically between the two in the time between, and being on vacation for about 3 weeks.

The intervening time between buying my ticket and leaving for my trip was eventful to say the least, in terms of world news and events. The Paris attack at the Bataclan. The Brussels bombings. A bomb scare at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport. Attacks in Germany. The Brexit.

Safety became a conversation I had with my travel buddy and with my parents. At no point did I hesitate in my plans to go forward with the trip or with my plans. In this kind of situation, what is there to do? I rationalized it like this: for the common person like you and me, there is no way to predict a terrorist attack. We are not the CIA, NSA, or FBI. It can happen anywhere, though big cities are more likely targets. Am I any safer at home? There was a terrorist attack not far from where I grew up, in SoCal. I live in San Francisco. These attacks happen because the perpetrators want to incite fear, gain attention, and spread hate. They want to punish these cities, isolate them as an example to others: noncompliance to this hate group’s will leads to XYZ violent act. If I avoid these targeted cities, am I not doing exactly as these fear mongerers want? Which isn’t to ignore the risks, but again, what can one do to avoid the unpredictable?

NEXT: Paris Stories

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