Have you ever looked at the U.S. travel warning list? It’s a pretty sad list. At one point, I thought, “Wow, it sucks that I can’t go to these places, because they’re too dangerous.” There are so many places on that list labelled “warning” that I would love to visit, like Israel, Cuba, or the Philippines. Then, one day, I was talking to one of my professors about this, and he said something really enlightening. He told me that he thought the same way as I did at one time, but then he realized how selfish it was to wish for the politics and stability of a country to improve, just so he could visit, instead of wishing for the situation to improve for the people living there.
This idea couldn’t have made a bigger impact on my way of thinking.
I was so concerned with myself and my travel experiences that I didn’t even stop to consider the lives of other people. If countries have travel warnings, they are dangerous places to visit, so the people who live there are in constant danger. They may not know where they will get their next meal or if their home will still be standing if they get home from work.
And I had the nerve to complain that I couldn’t visit.
I know that I’m not the only one out there who has thought like this, and I needed someone else’s insight on the topic to make me realize how selfish this was. Yes, travelling the world is an amazing gift that I believe people should try to take advantage of, but we also need to realize that our needs or wants are not the top priority. Rather, the safety of others should be.
I’m going to be honest. This isn’t going to be some super optimistic post where I provide all of the answers to how to stop terrorism by playing online games that give starving children individual grains of rice. I don’t know how to improve the situation in countries afflicted by government corruption or terrorism. I don’t know how I, an average human being, can have any impact at all on these global problems. My only idea is to continue spreading awareness, so that’s the reason for this post. Maybe this post will impact one of my half a dozen readers in a positive way. Perhaps one of them will read this post and find a way to take a step towards improving the situation in less fortunate countries, because, in all honesty, right now, I have no clue how to do that.
So if you are religious, pray to whatever God or spirit is yours. If you have money, maybe consider donating some to a good cause. If you have an education, maybe consider teaching students who don’t have opportunities to learn. If you have something to give, find a way to give it, because the only thing I know for sure is that the world isn’t going to get any better if everyone does nothing.