It’s been a month since my first post of the year! What have I been up to all this time?! Well, I started my nursing major on January 14th and have been caught up in the wonderful world of science and math ever since! I wasn’t happy with my desk job, so I applied to nursing school a few months back and sent in my resignation letter just before I left for Canada in December 2012. [Hopefully now you’ll understand how important my posts on ‘Fear Means GO’ & ‘The Holstee Manifesto’ are to me on my journey of self improvement/discovery.] It is a dream of mine to become a nurse and to one day tie in my love of travel with my profession. I see at least a year or two of travel nursing and volunteer nursing to third world countries in my future!
But enough about me.
I’m sure by now you all have heard the incredibly sad story of the American wife/mother (Sarai Sierra, RIP) from NY who was found dead with a fatal blow to the head in Turkey. She was apparently murdered while on a solo trip to Istanbul. I paid special attention to the reactions of seasoned travel bloggers and found their responses to be more on the defensive. Many stated that they’ve vacationed in Turkey, loved it, never felt in danger and argued that this isolated story should not be held against the people and country of Turkey. I found the opposite side of the argument in the comments sections of several online news articles. These anonymous commenters felt that Turkey is too close to the Middle East for any American to feel completely safe, that some locals can be aggressive towards tourists, etc.
How do you feel when you read horrible international travel stories? What is your gut reaction – defending the country or blaming possible circumstances? For the women readers, especially those interested in solo travel like myself, would stories like this make you reconsider having certain countries on your must-see list? My honest answer is maybe. (It really depends on the social climate of the country.)
I think we do ourselves a disservice by painting everything with a broad brush. It’s important for me to see both sides and act on a case-by-case basis, always.
I don’t ever want to say that bad news to one (or a handful of tourists) in a country won’t stop me from visiting destinations that I really want to see. Chances are, it just might. I do have a sense for adventure and exploration but I also value my life and safety. If travelers are being targeted because of their gender, religion, nationality/ethnicity, I for sure won’t be visiting…or at the very least, it will be years before I even consider it, thus buying time for issues to ‘die down’.
However, I do realize that the public is not always privy to the exact reasons why bad things happen abroad. The very reasons why someone or a group of people were assaulted/died may not be applicable to the general public, so while there may be perceived danger, that danger may not exist for the majority of tourists in reality. Finally, even if that slight danger does exist, we must admit that danger is everywhere…even in our own cities. So why deny ourselves of exposure to new cultures and fun adventures?
So as for this tourist murder story in Turkey, what say you? Would you still want to visit Turkey considering this recent horrific event?
My conclusion: After weighing the information – personally, if I could, I’d be on the next plane to Istanbul in a heartbeat! AND I’d be ready to ride a hot air balloon at sunrise the next day! AND I’d do it all solo! Researching Turkey has led me to believe that there’s nothing alarming or particularly threatening to tourists, including female solo travelers. I would love to hear your take on this matter.
Stay safe and happy travels,