Sunday Stills: Tourism

On Instagram, I came across a quote that I loved so much, I actually bought an audiobook about Mark Twain called “Around the World with Mark Twain”. The quote is:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I’m glad I bought the book because it’s very interesting, but I discovered that Mark Twain never said this.

I just read an article about an Instagrammer with over 100K followers who was caught using stock photos, sometimes adding himself to the photo or making other slight changes. The Instagrammer says he has receipts for all of the stock photos he used, but it’s disappointing to know he was posting fake experiences.

Before we went to Turkey last summer, everyone tried to warn us not to go. ISIS was going to kidnap us. When we arrived in Istanbul, the customs area was deserted.


We enjoyed Istanbul so much and felt so safe that we go be back one day. I saw Turkish Insta-friends (women) who dressed Wow! Very sexy! (Look up: Nazila and Hatice.) I saw women dressed in all ways all over Istanbul. I had conversations and subtle interactions with women in burkas who made me feel very welcome in their city. (You can read about my experiences here.)

When we booked tours in Mexico City and Michoacán a few years ago, we were alone with the tour guide. Tourists were so afraid to visit Mexico that we had our own private tour! Two weeks after we left Michoacán, an navy admiral was ambushed and killed on the highway. (You can read our Michoacán post here!)

Before our 2016 Guatemala trip, Dan told me that located our hotel in a zone where La Marasalvatrucha, the infamous drug gang, operate.

Also, we were planning a trip to Tikal to see the Mayan pyramids. But Tikal is in a tropical zone, and the Zika virus scare had just begun. Some airlines had announced that they were willing to cancel bookings to the most dangerous destinations.

We saw this billboard in Guatemala City: “They freeload while you pay the bill”

We went to Guatemala and had such a good time in this interesting country that we promised ourselves that we would return. (You can read about our adventures in Guatemala here!)

Like many news stories, these turned out to be greatly exaggerated. Yes, there are dangers, but you know what?

😮 In New York at that time, gang members were cutting some pedestrians’ faces!

😮 That March, New York City announced that they had registered 18 cases of Zika virus.

😮  And if you still think you might be safer wrapping yourself under the covers and staying in bed, two years ago a construction crane fell and crashed into a building below, killing a woman who was in bed sleeping.

So, before planning your trip, perhaps you’d like to update yourself of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world or check out where were the world’s most devastating earthquakes in the past decade, but I don’t recommend it. Instead, look at the TripAdvisor forums and communicate with other travelers who have visited your destination. Sign into Instagram and follow people from all over the world to see how normal their lives are. Then get on a plane and go! Go with your eyes wide open and see the world as it really is. Stay alert to the dangers and don’t take unnecessary risks. “Explore. Dream. Discover.”

18 thoughts on “Sunday Stills: Tourism”

  1. I love, love, love this post, Aixa! And oh my gosh, I am totally guilty of attributing that quote to Twain. 😳 When we were in London last year, we had walked across Westminster Bridge and two days later pedestrians were intentionally plowed down by a truck on it. You are so right, bad things can happen at any time, in any place. Be smart, but just go!!!

    1. Thank you, Julie. Being afraid isn’t worth it. I remember your motivation to take more risks. I agree completely to just go!

  2. Good point.
    I told you I haven’t been to Istanbul yet and would love it. I’m very attracted to Turkey. We’ve started planning our Sept vacation, which is normally in Greece. Then, I realized it’s been ages since we went to Turkey last time. So (hopefully), Turkey, I’ll be back…soon.
    Great post.
    Long time no see. How are you doing? You come and go.

    1. Thank you, Bojana! Reading everyone’s blogs is time-consuming so I haven’t felt like posting. Just to tap “like” without reading isn’t for me. I got to about 15 minutes in the video in your comments section and then never got back to it but I think I have time now for everyone.

  3. Since I don’t travel abroad as much as I would like to, I fall into that trap of feeling unsafe. But I have traveled by myself to Mexico (Baja really, with a layover in Guadalajara) to meet my hubby there a few years ago. I speak very little Spanish, but the now defunct Mexicana airlines employees spoke enough to help me and there were a few English speakers on board. My plane was late and almost missed my connection (yes I ran through two terminals in Ugg boots), but the staff actually held our little plane for me that flew to La Paz, Baja. Someone actually escorted me onto the tarmac at 7am that morning after spending a sleepless red-eye flight. I believe anyone can be safe when traveling abroad if they are friendly but smart and don’t act like an entitled “ugly” American. I loved this post, Aixa and you bring a lot of expertise to “tourist.” My hubby speaks German and Spanish so he can always talk to people.

    1. It’s so nice when people come to help you when you’re alone in another country. These are the experiences that make you feel at ease somewhere else. Thank you so much, Terri.

    1. Thank you so much, Richa! I only posted because I think I finally have time to start reading everyone’s posts again.

  4. Great post. I love that quote so much. I feel the truth in it.
    I think of travel warnings sometimes as scaremongering. Often they are highly exaggerated and almost always ignore the dangers present in the ‘home country’. It’s always useful to speak with someone who is native to the area or at least more familiar than the average tourist. If a person like that warns me against travel I’ll listen. But otherwise you could be scared off of some real gems! Be smart but embrace life.

  5. You’re making some good points in this post. I am careful while traveling, and there are places I avoid. That said, I have traveled alone, a lot. I’ve been seriously assaulted twice, both times was in Gothenburg (Sweden.) Both during the two years I called it my home town. The quote in the beginning is awesome, even though it had another author 🙂

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