Thursday, May 7, 2015

Put that fear down and enjoy life's ride

You have to be wary of peacocks lurking around the pool...
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - I'd like to report that all is well and I've felt no threat to my safety in the four days I've been in Mexico. The only real danger threatening me was a wicked hangover from too much beer, wine and rum punch my first full day here. Oh, and maybe those pesky peacocks that hang around the resort pool, shaking their tails.

It was very interesting the various reactions prompted by the news of gang-related issues the night before I left Vancouver to fly to Mexico for the 2015 North American Travel Journalists Association conference.

A friend of mine posted a CBC link detailing the news about violence on his Facebook feed. Another friend later posted the same link as a comment in one of my posts about heading to Mexico.

All I can say is, "Now hold on there, Baba Louie..."

Let's not get carried away here.

Before getting all worked up and cancelling plans for any trip, you have to stop and assess the situation logically and with a bit of perspective.

The following headlines might certainly make you want to cancel plans to go somewhere:
  • "Children kept indoors after outbreak of drug-linked shootings"
  • "Mounties investigate drive-by shootings"
Pretty scary stuff, eh?

Except those headlines are from recent news stories in Surrey, B.C. CANADA.

No tourists were harmed in the making of this video.

I'm not making those up; they're real headlines. I'm not going to bother posting those links here - but go Google them if you don't believe me.

Does that mean you'll never go to Surrey? Or Vancouver for that matter? What if you live there?

A peck on the cheek is quite continental,
a parrot is this guy's new friend...
As one friend put it, regarding danger in Mexico, "You're more likely to be shot in Surrey these days than in Mexico!"

Granted, we travel writers do live in a bit of a bubble at these kinds of events. But then so do most tourists on vacation.

I've been too busy enjoying myself, eating great food, meeting wonderful people (and even a few new parrot pals!), enjoying sunset cruises and marvelling at swimming with horses on horseback riding trips to worry much. Friday, I'll be sailing off on a pirate ship and (hopeully) doing some kayaking and/or snorkeling.

Now I'm not saying there is no danger in travelling. Common sense has to play a role in any decision. But here's the thing:

LIFE involves danger. Just going to the corner store involves an element of risk.

To dance the dance of life, you have to overcome fear.
So you can sit at home, lock your doors, and "live" a safe life, and someday you'll still die. Maybe a little more comfortably, maybe not.

But you'll die not having really lived.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt stated eloquently, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." So put down your fears, go out and live life.

You're welcome.

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