By Michelle Colesanti
According to Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
My husband Phil and I recently returned from a two week Tauck Rhine River cruise on the beautiful MS Grace, taking us from the city of Basel, Switzerland up to Amsterdam, Netherlands. After the cruise, we made plans to spend a few days in London, one of my favorite cities.
Since our return, everyone asks me how we could travel to Europe, especially to London, given the recent terrorist attacks that seem to take place regularly. These attacks are unpredictable and frightening, but should they keep you from visiting Europe?
Practicing vigilance should be something that you do no matter where you travel whether in the U.S. or overseas. Always pay attention to your surroundings. Sometimes this gets lost in the wonder of seeing famous landmarks and sites for the first time. Common sense says to keep your passport in a safe place such as your hotel/ship safe; don’t carry it through the streets as you sightsee or shop. Make sure you have a scanned copy of your passport in your suitcase. I always keep a picture of the front page on my phone too. Ladies should carry their purses with the strap diagonally placed over the shoulder so that it is harder for someone to grab it. Don’t carry all of your money with you. Separate your money and credit cards.
Backpacks are a great option if you are carrying cameras and other heavier items, but make sure that your money, credit cards and ID’s are not easy targets if someone were to come from behind and attempt to get into your pack. If you are a man, do not keep your wallet in your back pocket so that someone could easily grab it.
Our travels took us to London just one week after the attack at the London Bridge and Borough Market. The U.K. elections had just taken place and there was much turmoil within the United Kingdom. Our plans were already made and despite our fears, we decided to continue on.
I am glad that we did. It is a lot different when you are looking at things from the inside out. Just as in the U.S., I could immediately sense the resiliency of the residents. I had trepidations about riding the London Underground, but people going about their daily business made me realize that life goes on. No one seemed to be giving in to the fears that they must face daily. I was happy to see that there were plenty of other Americans and foreign tourists that chose to visit despite recent events.
The acts of terrorism that have become so commonplace, especially in Europe, is something unpredictable, but if you look realistically at the statistics, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning near your home on a hot Florida afternoon.
If your dream has always been to visit this part of the world – to see the Dutch Masters painted by Rembrandt at the Riiks Museum or to visit the Alps in Switzerland or Austria; then go!