Overcoming fear of risky destinations

Overcoming fear of risky destinations

Oct 25, 2012| by administrator

Traveling to a “risky” destination often brings unexpected rewards—fewer crowds, more personalized attention, and the opportunity to completely change perceptions about a place plagued by negative publicity. Some of my favorite travel memories are from such countries, including Colombia. Having studied Colombia’s political history, I was aware of the challenges it has faced over the years. However, I was not fully cognizant  of its impressive pre-Columbian archaeological sites, well-preserved colonial buildings, vibrant arts scene, varied cuisine, and the diverse landscapes, including plains, mountains, valleys, rainforest, and oceans. In addition, experiencing Colombians’ friendliness, perseverance, and great sense of humor impressed me.

That said, my first visit required a leap of faith because of the pervasive stories about violence. Initially, I intended to spend only three months in Colombia, but ended up extending it to a year. Since then, I return every few years. When Colombia launched its tourism campaign, “The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay”, I knew that the simple phrase is true and I admired them for confronting the country’s negative images head-on.

I still enjoy discovering new destinations that are off the beaten path—before everyone else realizes what fear has prevented them from experiencing.  And yes, for now, Colombia is still one of those destinations, but the secret may soon get out!

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