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To Travel or Not to Travel?
Dear Savvy Traveler,
I wanted to make a comment about the travel-or-not issue. Every three years, I take a group of students and their parents to England for eight days. We tour the countryside, absorb a great deal of very important history, and then spend three days in London. We also see three plays - one at the wonderful Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford and two in London. It is an invaluable experience for everyone.
As fate would have it, this is the year my students and I were to return to England. There were 36 of us scheduled to go until September 11. I'm proud to say that only two students withdrew from the trip because of the terrorist attacks. The group agreed that if we - our group specifically and Americans in general - withdraw from the world and hover around our fires, we have given the terrorists and their backers exactly what they sought.
I have no wish to be foolish and certainly would have canceled the trip if flying were truly dangerous. At this point, I don't believe it is. A very real concern, however, is that if we DON'T go places, buy cars, invest, etc., we have given the terrorists a great gift.
In addition to the group trip to London with students, I had begun planning a trip to Greece for adults as well. I was surprised to find that there was far more hesitation among these travelers than among the students. One adult traveler asked me why I would want to "leave this wounded country at this time," as if traveling would hurt the country even more. I don't understand this kind of reasoning, and thus can only see it as a rationalization for fear.
I hope we will NOT back down, that our courage and confidence will regenerate. We should not bow to the force of terrorists. I keep remembering the Londoners during WWII who defiantly continued to go to work and live their lives despite constant attacks. That backbone kept England from being destroyed as a nation - and it is that same backbone which we must now find in ourselves.