This post has been sitting in the drafts of my brain ever since I started planning our trip to Cuba last fall.

About a week or so before the trip, more and more people started telling me how dangerous it was, and that we should think it over, reconsider/read some literature on the subject ;). The country was/is in a state of turmoil, political relations were shaky, there had been a bombing at the American Embassy, and it had recently been hit by Hurricane Irma.

It was, admittedly, a bit much. J was already a little uneasy because of how terrible the media portrayed the streets of Cuba, and at first, he thought I was unhinged for even suggesting Havana as a vacation destination. But I knew in my heart we had to go. The window of opportunity to visit my dream city had finally opened, and I saw that it may be closing soon, so I had to take the leap before it closed.

Then, this crazy thing happened when we got there: it was amazing. J fell in love with the culture, the architecture and the atmosphere as a whole. We both felt 100% safe and comfortable walking the streets (even at night), and not once did anything about our stay feel dangerous or questionable. Months later, we're still talking to each other about how it was a wonderful trip that will be hard to beat.

We're in the middle of planning our next trip, and when I mentioned the destination to a friend, she told me about some things that were going on in the area. This was my exact response:
At this point I can’t even look at the news before I go places. Gotta let go and let GOD. 
So now I have to write this post, because there will always something bad happening at any given destination in the world. Just thinking of all the dangerous things that happen in and around my own city - stuff that doesn't even make national headlines - would probably be enough to deter the average traveler. Bad things happen everywhere. Imagine how much crime swept under the rug because the city/destination can't afford for the word to get out, because their economy depends on foreign foot traffic. We would never know. We may never know.

As for the stuff on the news, in any given area, I refuse to let the media's influence overpower that of my own intuition and better judgement. The desire to travel and see other parts of the world has been birthed in me for a reason, and if I let bad news stories dictate where I do and don't go, I'd not only have a fear of flying, I'd probably never leave my house. That's not to say some places aren't worse than others; I'm not talking about visiting war zones or areas of political upheaval. I'm not in search of a thrill. I'm on a journey of discovery and enjoyment.

Thankfully, I've got my mother's good sense, my father's street smarts and my husband's brawn to back me up.

photo source one (mine)
photo source two »»