I am writing this from the airport in Mexico City, where a massive earthquake hit. The buildings rocked and I ran for cover under a doorway. But as intense as the earthquake was once the electricity was restored –after being down about two minutes –every flight remained on time.
It is my 25th trip to Mexico in the last 18 months. I’m alive. I had a great time. I encourage you to do the same.
I also encourage you — no matter where you travel — to pack common sense. This applies to the information sources you use to determine your travel choices. I appreciate the intent of U.S. State Department advisories. I just question the long term negative impact of most of them. And, after all, they are just advisories.
There are places in San Francisco I wouldn’t go after dark, but it doesn’t stop me from going to one of my favorite cities. I travel to Washington, DC at least once a month, and that’s in spite of our nation’s capital having one of the highest murder rates in the world.
Many of the U.S State Department alerts bother me as well, especially when they caution that Americans should avoid all but essential travel to certain locations. Avoid essential travel? I’m one of those who would argue — strenuously — that with exceedingly few exceptions, travel is essential. Whether you are traveling to Mexico or Manhattan, to Guadalajara or Greenland — do some homework. Pack light, immerse yourself in the culture.
A true adventure doesn’t necessarily have to include a familiar, American branded hotel and a cheeseburger from room service.Sleep at the resort, but don’t live there. Get out and see the world. Challenge your comfort level every day. Travel and tourism is the most powerful tool for breaking down barriers and building understanding. If you don’t have a passport, do not pass go until you get one.
Then, when you return home, tell your friends about your adventures. Even boast about them. And about the new friends you made along the way. Does Mexico have some hard work ahead of it in the drug wars? Absolutely. A new President will take office later this year and hopefully will continue the fight against the cartels launched by current President Felipe Calderon.
But will I be going back to Mexico? That, as you may have guessed by now, is a rhetorical question.
Do you think it’s safe to travel to Mexico? Share your thoughts with Peter!
Check out more of Peter’s reports on Mexico and his Travel Detective blogs, start with:
- Why and How We Made Mexico: The Royal Tour
- Peter’s CBS This Morning report on 22 Cruise Passengers Robbed in Mexico
- Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico?
- Peter Travel Detective Blog on Earthquakes, Unscheduled Landings & Checked Bags
By Peter Greenberg for Peter Greenberg.com
Feature Image Credit Ana Salana