Shortly after returning with my small children from their first trip abroad to France, a gunman opened fire in the very area of the Champs-Elysees that we had walked, browsed, and posed for pics on just days before.
We had already been discussing a trip to London next. Since then, two separate attacks have taken place just over these last few months. And I haven’t yet forgotten the horror of the 2005 tube and bus bombings, the two most likely modes of transportation we’d surely be using when we go.
We wondered, Is there anywhere relatively safe left in Europe to visit? Where’s a place that has not been targeted? Maybe we should try Spain. And then, over the summer, there is an attack in Barcelona.
We toyed with the idea of surprising our pizza-obsessed son with a visit to Italy for a taste of the authentic cuisine. But with all the seeming craziness and uncertainty abroad, we changed our minds and thought maybe for now we should just stay close to home. New York pizza would still be a fantastic treat! We looked for a hotel right in the heart of Manhattan. And then, exactly two days before leaving, a man plows his car into a crowd of tourists in Times Square.
And now, Las Vegas…
Although there is so much of the world I’ve yet to see, Vegas already stands as one of my most favorite places on earth. While it is indeed a fun and exciting place, this top billing is due mostly to sentimental value. It’s the first trip that my husband and I took together in our burgeoning romance. We have made it our own tradition now and have returned faithfully every year for the past decade to celebrate and honor our relationship. We’ve stayed at the Mandalay Bay before and have walked its grounds and those of all the surrounding casinos many, many times. To now think of this space and the devastating carnage that occurred there this week is just so terribly tragic and unfathomable.
My mother, in all her excessive worrywart-ness, frets any time we mention taking an international trip. I always say to her that we can’t let a fear of what might happen keep us from living our lives. There’s a whole world out there to see, and as this latest incident proves yet again, staying on our home soil doesn’t keep us any safer. We could just as easily have been in Vegas at a concert, in Orlando at a nightclub, in Colorado at a movie theater, or in Washington shopping at the mall. For that matter, it didn’t even have to be an entertainment excursion. We could also just as easily could have been pumping gas in DC, going to work in San Bernardino, fellowship-ing in Charleston, or even simply attending school for the day. School. Probably the one place you would most expect to be safe. But as Jonesboro, Columbine, Lancaster, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and countless others have proven time and time again, there is no guarantee in safety. Not at a concert. Not at school. Not abroad. Not at home.
We can’t just not go to school and to work. At some point, we will need to venture to a brick and mortar store to make a purchase. And eventually, we may even want to engage in some form of entertainment and attend a movie or a concert. And when we do, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that our lives and safety won’t be guaranteed at any of these times.
So, with that realization in mind, I will continue to travel. I still want to go to Spain, England, Italy, and many other countries the world over. I still have states right here in the U.S. I haven’t yet covered and am eager to see. And I will absolutely, without a doubt, be returning with the Husband very soon to our beloved Las Vegas for our annual trip. If the terror that could happen to me abroad has the same probability to also happen right here at home then it doesn’t make any sense to fear traveling internationally anymore than it does to travel across the U.S. That’s the logic that I use to try to reason with my mother, anyway. Although I know she will worry anyway. Because that’s just what mothers do. With our own nation’s growing list of terrorist incidents, she will still be fraught with worry even when I’m traveling here at home.
And the truth is…ever increasingly, now so will I 😞
Thinking of the victims and families in Las Vegas, and continued prayers always for everyone, everywhere that has been affected by senseless acts of violence.