Never Read the News While on Vacation (Even if There’s a Grenade in the Street)

27 Feb

On February 14, 2012, an Iranian man threw two grenades down a busy street in Bangkok. Despite blowing off his own legs, he survived.

Streets of Bangkok

Streets of Bangkok

We had no idea, even though our hotel was less than five miles away.

I don’t usually read the news while on vacation. I figure it’s nice to kind of fall into a hole where reality doesn’t affect you. But what if the reality is that there’s a terrorist throwing grenades in the city you’re visiting? Shouldn’t you know about it?

Thai Giant

Thai giant, guarding the Wat Phra Kaew temple grounds

Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t know. As a matter of fact, we learned about it after we’d left Thailand and even then, it felt like something that occurred in some obscure place, not in the place we were visiting.

Bangkok, Thailand

Buddhist temple, Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok, Thailand

And while my motherly instincts want all the information so I can protect my children, there’s a part of me that knows I can’t scour every news article and stayed glued to CNN worrying about terrorism.  I’d drive myself crazy.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

I wish I were like Mr. Wanderlust, who remains calm in all circumstances, but I’m not. I’m a little on the nervous side, feeling that calamity will strike at any moment. I know that sounds strange for someone who travels so much, but it’s true. I love traveling, but I always have some anxiety taking my children half way across the world.  Seeing the news would only make it worse. Had I known, I wouldn’t have enjoyed a moment of my time in Bangkok, and honestly, it was one of the highlights of our trip.

Me at the Grand Palace

Me, blissfully unaware, on the grounds of the Grand Palace

While I don’t want to walk unknowingly into a dangerous situation, I also don’t want to live with paranoia, thinking someone is lurking at every corner. I don’t want my children to live like that either. I want them to feel comfortable in the world, and my fear won’t help them at all. Someday, they will know about evil, but right now, they are too young to understand.

Floating Market, Bangkok, Thailand

Floating Market

I’m not naïve, though. I am fully aware that terrorism exists and bad things happen.  I’ve had some close calls, so I know that I could be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But would worrying about it, keep it from happening? No.

Woman selling goods at the floating market in Bangkok

Woman selling goods at the floating market in Bangkok

I truly believe that if it I need to know, I will hear about it, somewhere.  I will notice greater security at tourist spots, or even at the airport. But really, there was NO indication that anything happened at all. No one even mentioned it to us, not the hotel employees, not taxi drivers, no one.

Bangkok, Thailand

These tourist don't seem too concerned.

I promise I won’t put my children or myself in danger, but I’m not giving in to the fear, either.

I’ll read the advisories before traveling, but I swear, I’m sticking to my rule: NO NEWS WHILE TRAVELING, even if there’s been a grenade in the street.

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4 Responses to “Never Read the News While on Vacation (Even if There’s a Grenade in the Street)”

  1. Jenna February 27, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Brilliant! Reminds us that is a terribly unique & American response to respond with drama & panic at every event. Why is our news filled with 10-minute coverage of a pharmacy hold-up? Why don’t we cover real events?

    Keep avoiding the news. Keep your children afraid of imagianry monsters; not real humans–not wonderful cultures.

  2. redeyefamily February 27, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Thank you. Sometimes you wonder if you are doing the right thing. And you are right, the news can be very disturbing. What I find interesting is that the American news was so focused on Whitney Houston’s death, that I don’t believe the Bangkok bombing story even came out here in the states. Not one of my friends or family members had even heard about it. Weird.

  3. Heather February 29, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Meant to tell you how glad I am that you’re writing this weblog.
    And I agree re worrying as useless.
    ❤ H

  4. redeyefamily March 1, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Thanks. I’m glad you’ve checked it out.

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