Note: This post originally appeared on The World According to Luke’s Facebook page on 14 November 2015.
As many of you know, Paris is one of my favorite cities. It’s where I first fell in love with Europe four years ago, solidifying a desire for a lifetime of travel. She is a beautiful city with friendly and welcoming people, and has seen much worse in her history.
Today, my heart weeps for the people of Paris and of France, and for everyone who has felt a special connection with this city, which now includes much of the world. Cowardly terrorists chose not to attack tourist locations, but places where these people have fun and find enjoyment on a beautiful French Friday night. The solidarity and unity of the French people was overwhelming and swift, as will be the response of bringing those responsible to justice. The world is not safe anywhere – including here in America – where dangerous and violent people, hell-bent on killing the innocent, exist.
As many of you also know, I have travel booked to France in just over nine months, where I will help take student and adult travelers to this city that means so much to me. I could not feel more confident in traveling to one of the world’s greatest cities. We are not truly safe anywhere we breathe (we’re at risk now even going to the store or movie theater in our own hometowns), and I know Paris and the rest of the world will rebound from this. I’m also encouraged by our tour operator’s network of offices and swift actions in ensuring its travelers may do so safely, as they did last evening in Paris.
I choose to continue to travel, and to be an advocate for travel, because we cannot allow the terrorists to win or for fear to dictate how we live our lives. I refuse to live a life rooted at my home because of a fear exacerbated by a small number of radicals and promoted by ratings-driven media outlets.
Please join me in standing with the people of Paris as the rest of the world stood with us on 9/11. The world is filled mainly with good people, and together we will show that terrorism will not win and we will prevail. As travelers, I feel we have a particular obligation to show the world that we are willing to stand with one of our most shining examples of what a great city can be when loving and kind people unite against darkness.
“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury