Kristen and I recently returned from a fantastic vacation overseas to London for our MBA program, and then continued on to Italy after that. Having traveled overseas a couple times before this we were relatively familiar with what to prep for, but before our departure to London something new popped up.
May 22nd was the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert just outside of Manchester killing 22 individuals and injuring 250, and less than two weeks later, on June 3rd, was the London Bridge/Borough Market incident with 8 people dead and at least 48 injured. Kristen was scheduled to leave on June 11th with me behind her on the 16th (she was able to get more time off and her flight was cheaper. I was jealous). I want to commend the University and Jim McClenahan for their actions leading up to the London trip for their assurances and the dialogue provided to students who had concerns.
For Kristen and I however, we were not particularly concerned. Not to say that in any way that we were completely apathetic to the situation, but rather, knowing we would just be a little more alert than normal on a trip that we would be fine. From some of our friends and family we got the expected “be careful!” which was appreciated, but what we told them was how we were looking at the situation: there are a myriad of dangers inherent with living in any major city that could strike on any given day. Someone could run their car through pedestrians, an elevator could malfunction, simply going to work, or someone could just find your body one day. It sounds trite in a way to say that simply going about your daily life could kill you, and maybe that’s why we block it out, try to pretend it doesn’t exist, but it does.
The only thing I made sure to do while in both countries was to pay a little more attention to what was going on around me. I kept my head out of my phone while walking around and made sure to be a little more alert to the actions of others. I also made sure to keep an eye behind me from time to time as well, people sometimes forget that not all threats make themselves apparent in front of them. On June 19th there was another terror event in London, this time while we were there, when a man drove his van through a crowd leaving a Mosque after prayers in apparent retaliation. Fortunately we were nowhere nearby and we didn’t have any other incidents in either country.
The main point here is that something could happen to you at just about any time, and while we should live like we expect to live a long time and take care of ourselves, we also shouldn’t let the possibility of that life being cut short from keeping us from enjoying our time here on this little blue rock to the fullest extent possible. Trite though it may be I know I don’t want to be 90 in a rocking chain thinking about all the things in my life I could have done if only I’d not been so scared.
If you have any trips coming up what are some of the things you do to prep for them from a safety standpoint? Any other tips for day to day or travel? Let us know down below and get out there to enjoy life! Until next time Pengminions!