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In September 2015 I set off on a solo adventure to India, one of the countries I had only dreamed about going to. I was excited to experience the chaos, see the sights and taste the food. There was just one thing that made me nervous to go…
I knew in my heart, I would be fine, but it seemed everyone else around me did not think that at all. I had messages the day before leading up to a couple of hours before I left telling me about the awful stories they had heard that happened to people whilst travelling there. At one point it felt like I was preparing to go to a country that was in a middle of a war. With everyone telling me that it isn’t safe for me to go, there were several hours where I doubted myself. I completely lost all of my confidence and ended up rolling into a little ball of self-doubt. It really shook me up. Obviously I know what happens in India. It’s all over the media: rapes, murders, foreigners being harassed. But, what makes a country so dangerous that you should re-think about going there?
After my India trip I thought about several countries that I would love to visit but I know everyone around me would be worried sick. Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, the list could go on. Have you ever heard of a good story from the media from any of those countries? All the media focuses on is the shock factor and exaggerating stories to make a country seem dangerous. If you ask most travel bloggers that have travelled to so-called ‘dangerous countries’, they will probably tell you it’s the complete opposite.
Your safety is the up most importance and of course you should always be vigilant when exploring a new country. What I don’t want you to do is completely tick that country off your list because the media has told you that’s what you should do. Just take Will from The Broke Backpacker. He has explored one of the countries that are often negatively conceived in the media: Pakistan. Will has claimed that Pakistan is one of the safest countries that he has travelled in and has never felt more welcome than when he visits there. I felt the same about India.
After spending 6 weeks travelling around one of the most spiritual countries in the world, I realised this: never judge a country before you have experienced it for yourself. I had never felt more welcome than I did in India. None of the other countries and cities from around the world has made me feel like I am part of their family and they had never even met me before. I had families on trains give me food as they didn’t want me to starve, I had owners of hostels take me to some local spots because they were excited to have me in their city, I had people stare and smile from ear to ear and tell me they are excited that I had come to their country despite the negativity on the news.
There are bad people in the world, but never assume a whole nation is bad because of the actions of a small handful of people.
So to answer the question what makes a country dangerous? In my eyes, I do not consider media in any part of this question. I look at the facts, recommendations from my embassy and ask people who HAVE been to that country. It’s kind of like asking someone who doesn’t like ice-cream where the best ice-cream shop is – you’re never going to get to the most honest and helpful answer. Do your own research. That’s where travel bloggers can be a huge help on your travels. Some have travelled to those so-called ‘dangerous countries’ so ask them for advice!
I would love you to tell me below what countries you would love to visit that are perceived as dangerous below!
Disclaimer: I am not simply telling you all countries are not dangerous. You need to do your own research beyond the media to find that out. Use your common sense; if a country is in the middle of a war, you probably shouldn’t visit there right now.
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