If you have even wondered when a country is too dangerous to visit, you are not alone. I recently discovered the Australian government travel website where they posted some pretty dire warnings about travel into Canada … CAUTION***
- We advise you to exercise caution and monitor developments that might affect your safety in Canada because of the risk of terrorist attack.
- The wind-chill factor can also create dangerously cold outdoor conditions beyond the thermometer reading.
- The province of British Columbia in western Canada is in an active earthquake zone.
- Forest fires can occur in Canada.
Terrorism, cold weather, earthquakes and forest fires! Should an Australian put life and limb at risk and come over here? When I first read the warnings they seemed a little over the top – it is almost too easy to poke fun at the overactive imagination of the poor government worker who had to research and write the warning to his fellow Australian countrymen. In my imagination, I wonder if he has some bitterness towards Canada, maybe when he was younger he came over to work as a liftie at Sunshine Ski Resort and couldn’t find a girlfriend?
If you want to get serious about dangerous places, it is pretty easy to retaliate with the fact that seven out of the ten most venomous snakes in the world live in Australia, most of their country is scorching desert … or that Dingo’s Eat Babies! But maybe I am getting distracted from my point – which is …
What risk is acceptable when travelling?
I work with thousands of people who need to judge the real risks when they travel, we go to places that are never advertised in the window of a travel agent. These global hotspots actually can be deadly.
Risk is all about perception. Even if your intended location has been the calmest place on the planet for a few decades, the one Immutable and Infallible Law of Travel is, as soon as you book your ticket, the news will immediately report a major catastrophe at your destination
It happens every time. Maybe it is because we are suddenly paying attention to that part of the world, or maybe you have done such a great job in promoting your mission to others that they are now collectively listening for news in that region of the world. Whatever the case, these new-found dangers sometimes cause travellers to second-guess their participation in the international adventure. People drop out due to fear.
How often does fear keep us from the adventure?
Of course you need to weigh the risks for yourself. No one can do that for you. It is in no ones interest to promote a naive, gung-ho cowboy attitude. There are real risks in travel: accidents, disease and violence do happen. A friend of mine took a team on his first trip overseas, and one of the team-members drowned in the sea during a day off. A recent volunteer found out that they returned home with Malaria. I was on a call with a volunteer within hours of the death of his colleague, he died in his arms. The fact that ‘it could have happened here’ is not too comforting to a grieving family, because it did not happen here, it happened over there – somewhere foreign.
If you are travelling you need to consider risk. How much are you willing to lose? More importantly, why are you going? Safety and security matter ( a lot) but are they the identifying reason why we do what we do. They need to be in the mix, but should they be the reason we chose to stay or go? I want to be the kind of person that steps into the risk, don’t you?
By the way, I promise I will blog details when the earthquake separates us in BC from the rest of Canada, if you will let me know how the wind-chill and dangerously cold temperatures are working out for you.