The attacks in Paris have had a worldwide impact.
For many it is seen as the 9/11 of France, not in the numbers who were killed, but in the way it has changed the lives the entire population forever.
And while some have argued that because the math, the numbers of those dead and injured were so much less, it should not be compared.
But think. If somehow the ones trying to get into the soccer stadium had somehow been allowed entry, the math of 9/11 would potentially have been miniscule.
But it was not about the numbers left dead.
It was about the loss of a sense of security and trust. A fear for what lies ahead in the future. And because of the various terrorist attacks that have taken place with lesser impact around the world, we all understand that our countries could be next.
It is about the disbelief that such a series of coordinated attacks could take place in a free society, in what many believed was the best city in the world.
How is this likely to affect travel to France and the rest of Europe?
Like 9/11 there is no doubt there will be a change in travel patterns. Some will stay home with the mistaken belief that it happened over there, and is not likely to happen here.
It took a long time before people were willing to travel to the United States, and particularly to New York, after that terrible day in September of 2001. But return they did. But the people of New York and never forgot, but were determined to rebuild buildings but more importantly lives and confidence.
Many travelers will avoid going to France over the coming months. I want to go back as soon as I can. I don’t have an irresponsible attitude or some phony sense of arrogance to demonstrate my lack of fear.
But in observing the realities of what has happened in many countries where tragedies of this nature, however much smaller, were in the news, there is a period where there is a travel vacuum, then a small growth, which leads back to near the same numbers as in the past.
And the other reality is that even in places where such tragedies occur, as an individual, the chance of becoming a victim are very low.
Going back for me the next time will not be a celebratory visit as it was this past month, but rather a personal sense of support for a city and a nation that needs to see us there, participating with them in the daily tasks of living, tourist or not.
We have witnessed a major change in how people will view safety in different countries. But we also need to hold these fears we may have in their proper perspective. And we need to support a renewed effort, on one hand to terminate the terrorist aggressors, and at the same time find ways of educating and motivating the would be terrorists towards alternative lines of expressing their anger and hatred of the world they believe is all evil, except for the philosophy they hold.
This is a rambling dissertation that may have little logic to many. But as a writer and a committed traveler I need to express my view that we cannot let our fears keep us locked in our own home environments, city, province, or country.
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