I will be traveling to Paris this coming Wednesday to spend a month there writing and exploring the city. Many people, here in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, are warning me that I shouldn’t leave the US now, of all times, since a terrorist attack has just taken place. For me, this is the exact time to go.
In 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, my daughter Katherine and I flew to Paris in December. The unfortunate circumstance is most of the world will be on heightened alert. The fortunate circumstances, as I see them, is that the world will be on heightened alert! I am use to police carrying uzis everywhere I look in Paris. It was also the case when I traveled in Italy in the 1980s. I’d rather see that and have the protection than be left without it.
The other part of this fear of travel that I hear from most friends and acquaintances is the illusion there is one place on this earth that is safer than an another. There is not. I have wanderlust, I must keep traveling, exploring and finding my way to the next book. I must write, the next person to meet and adventure to find.
I am hearing about so many people in Manchester continue to reach out and help those most impacted. That is what I would hope I could do should I find myself in the middle of such a tragedy. If I don’t make it during a terrorist act, I don’t. However, my hope is that I would be well enough to help others who are worse off than I. None of what happens in the world need keep us frozen in fear. The only goal for us is to be of maximum service to others who are in the most need.
Never is money wasted for me when spent on education and travel. Each moment of learning is what it means to me to be alive. So, for me the next right thing to do is what is in front of me at this moment. I can plan as best I can. Going with the flow prepares me for what reality brings to me each day. There is no such thing as control over the day, over the people in my life, or what happens in that day.
“All is not gold that glitters.
Not all those who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither.
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
Debra Whittam is the author of “I'm I Going to be Ok?" For any media inquiries or questions please contact: Contact@DebraWhittam.com