Jim Johnson is the President and Founder of BikeTours.com.
As President of BikeTours.com, I travel a lot overseas. A lot. And many of my travels take me to places where terrorist attacks have occurred or, in one case, was about to occur. So it hits me in my gut when terrorist attacks strike familiar destinations like Paris and Brussels, especially when airports and public transit are involved. I mourn the loss of lives. And I think, “That could have been me.”
Still, I won’t stop traveling. Why not?
Here are 5 reasons the terrorists won’t stop me from traveling:
1. That’s how the terrorists win—by paralyzing us. By making us change our lifestyles.
2. If we avoid places where terrorists have hit, it adds insult to injury; these are often places highly-dependent on tourism.
3. I’m not necessarily safer if I stay home, where terrorists came very close to killing friends competing in the 2013 Boston Marathon, and where not even a year ago a terrorist-inspired murderer killed five service people just a few miles from the BikeTours.com office.
4. Travel leads to greater understanding between different cultures. Especially when Americans are seen so often as the “bad guys,” I want to show the real bad guys that they didn’t win, I want to show the good guys that Americans care, and I want to serve as an ambassador, people to people.
The above are reasons that come from my heart. When I also engage my brain, an additional reason comes into play:
5. The risk of dying in a terrorist attack is minuscule. Some experts put it at one in 20 million. By comparison, your risk of being killed in a car crash is one in 19,000 or of being struck by lightning is one in 5.5 million.
Renowned travel writer and advocate Wendy Perrin explains the risk issue brilliantly in this article, “7 Keys to Traveling Without Fear Despite Terrorist Attacks.”
She writes, “You may be making travel plans—or trying to—and you can’t help but wonder: If I go, what is the risk that I will get caught in a terrorist incident? How do I minimize that risk? If I can’t minimize it, how do I get over my fear? I believe the solution is to put your risk in perspective. Here’s how.”