Photo courtesy of Boston College Campus Ministry / Facebook

To the Wanderers of Our Wild World

This past December alone there have been 85 terrorist attacks across the globe. The incidents include over 39 bombings—ranging from car bombs to suicide bombs to unsuccessful detonations—10 executions, two assassinations, one landmine, and a variety of other attacks. In the U.S. alone, there have been 14 terrorist attacks within the last year, killing 66 and injuring another 136. When quantifying the danger of today, it is only reasonable to presume that people would be fearful of every corner of the world apart from their own. But what does this fear do besides promote stationary lives?

Unfortunately, nations do not actively discourage such fear. The Canadian government has issued travel advisories for 225 countries and territories. Warnings issued include: “exercise normal security precautions,” “exercise a high degree of caution,” “avoid nonessential travel,” and “avoid all travel.” 95 of the nations or territories have earned high caution warnings, while a combined 24 destinations have been marked as should be avoided—either completely or for nonessential travel. The Canadian government deems these 119 nations or territories “unsafe” for travel. This list totals over half of the established territories in the world. Though these government-issued precautions do not restrict access to high-risk locations, they do hold weight in the eyes of the traveling citizenry.

It does not take a service trip to a third world country or a posh vacation to an established nation to see that a place is more than its associated risk. People should be encouraged to travel to these places but to take with them the appropriate level of caution. Warnings should not implicitly discourage people from exploring. News outlets, constantly projecting a different terrorist attack, serve as enough discouragement.

Terrorist, unsurprisingly, comes from the word “terror,” meaning extreme fear, dread, or horror. Terror is succumbing to the fear spread from these senseless acts of violence. It is choosing not to study abroad in Paris out of fear of attack rather than a distaste for snails. It is buying that pair of hiking boots but never climbing. It is crossing adventures off of bucket lists without actually doing them. Explore fearlessly to combat the surmounting terrorist attacks. Take advantage of study abroad opportunities—Boston College has 79 internal programs on five continents! Look into a post-grad gap year that involves work and travel abroad.

As the artist Vincent Van Gogh once said, “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

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Casey O'Neill