When I set off on my first solo backpacking trip, my mom was worried. She wanted me to check in every day. And I understood. I was on the other side of the world in a country – Malaysia – that most people probably think is just full of textile factories and poppy fields. But after a few months of traveling, my mom stopped checking in so frequently. She has a life after all.
Until I told her I was going to Tunisia.
You’d be worried too if you read the Tunisia travel advisories posted on the American and British state department sites. The UK recommends that its citizens avoid all “non-essential” travel to Tunisia.
Well, we all know the British and American governments are generally full of shit. I’ll start worrying when they tell me I should go to Tunisia.
Yes, there was a terrorist attack at a beachside resort a few years ago. And yes, it’s a Muslim country, so they’re not down with the infidel lifestyle. But I spent yesterday and today just walking around looking very American, telling people I’m American when they asked, and literally every person’s response to me was: “Welcome!” Like, in English.
I mean, a bunch of people have tried to scam me and sell me drugs. One guy on the street started in with the classic line: “Don’t you remember me? I work at your hotel”, but I walked away just as he was about to ask for money. The thing is – I already knew about that scam from a TripAdvisor forum — not from a UK or US trip advisory.
I guess I’m just trying to say this: DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRAVEL. It’s awesome. Also, DON’T TRUST THE GOVERNMENT. They are not awesome. Except maybe Tunisia’s government. Their social media game is on point:
PS: I don’t mean to overgeneralize. Tunisia certainly has dangerous areas, as does any country. And I’m sure it’s not all peaches and cream living in Tunisia. Also Tunisia doesn’t necessarily represent all of Africa. No single country can. Africa is big place. Finally, terrorist attacks do happen, and I could be eating my words days from now, but I’d rather accept calculated levels of risk than let fear and xenophobia keep me from seeing the world!