Don’t Be Terrorized: Your Comments and Rick’s Response

 

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A disaster — like Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris — is always met with an emotional response stoked by lots of media. Watching the news unfold on Friday night, I decided to quickly write and post my thoughts on Facebook. Over the weekend, millions of people read my essay and thousands commented with thoughts of their own. Reading through these comments late Sunday night, I couldn’t resist responding to some. This morning, I read over our dialogue and wished that more people could see it. So I compiled and edited this selection of a few of the more notable back-and-forths. (For the full and unvarnished version, just click through the comments on my “Don’t be terrorized” post.) My hope is not to rehash petty disagreements, but to continue what I hope can be a constructive conversation about Friday’s attacks and how we should respond.


Comment: Our travel days in Europe are over. I do not have faith in the ability of the police to protect my family. We are in a World War. These so-called isolated incidents will increase and become more sophisticated.

My Response: You’re watching too much commercial news. Calm down and get a grip. In spite of the hysteria caused by entertainment masquerading as news, we are living in the safest times in history. There are a billion of us relatively wealthy First World Westerners (who leave a pretty deep footprint on our world). And not many of us are being killed.


Comment: As someone who specializes in International Affairs and International Security I can tell you for a fact that the next 6 to 12 months, Paris will be one of the safest places to visit.

My Response: That makes perfect sense. But I think even considering that kind of analysis is giving the risk too much respect. Twelve million Americans go to Europe every year. Last Friday, as far as we know, one was murdered. Yes, that’s tragic. But scores of Americans have been murdered in our own country in the two days since then.


Comment: Thoughtful and well-written post, but I think it’s the wrong time to rant about U.S. gun control, as if all gun deaths (street crime, domestic violence, suicide, and accidental) are comparable to terrorism.

My Response: I am struggling with the feeling that 80 deaths in a concert hall in Paris are no more tragic than 80 deaths by gunfire on the streets of our cities, or 80 deaths by a mistaken drone strike, or 80 deaths in a terrorist attack in Kenya or Iraq, or 80 deaths that could have been avoided if health care were more affordable. I’m struggling with the randomness of hearts being broken and prayers being sent. Each of those 80s is the tip of a different iceberg of grief.


Comment: Rick, I think you’re being a bit flippant about the 150 deaths. I see your overall point, but please do not minimize the tragedy for these 150 families who have lost their precious ones.

My Response: I didn’t mean to sound flip. I am just concerned that overreacting will lead to more tragic deaths. So far this year, 300 people have been murdered on the streets of Baltimore, USA. And that’s not even the most dangerous city in America. Sometimes, for the love of potential future victims, the emotional needs to take a back seat to the cerebral.


Comment: You have GOT to be kidding. Minimizing this terrorist act in Paris by saying it only claimed 150 lives out of a total population of 500 million on the continent is unbelievably naive. Those 150 people went out to have a fun time on this particular Friday night in Paris. They never made it home, and their families & loved ones lives have been changed forever. Those who survived were mercilessly terrorized, and the rest of the civilized world has been traumatized. You just keep on travelin’, Rick, because it’s apparently all about you and the industry you are financially vested in.

My Response: Thinking my stance is motived by my business needs reflects poorly on you more than me. More often, my political stances cause people who see things like you to marvel that I would say things that hurt my business. In this case, my belief that the world is better off when Americans keep on traveling does help my business. That’s just a nice coincidence.


Comment: Which has taken more victims: terrorism in western countries, or war and other conflicts in third world and developing countries (where conflicts are created or sustained to some extent due the western countries’ foreign policy)? Everyone is talking about terrorist attacks–but what about the foreign policy and influence in those war conflicts? Media is always on the side of the more powerful!

My Response: It is interesting that you’re the first person among all these comments to share this broad perspective on the issue. Bravo and thanks.


Comment: Rick, I’m a fan. But you just trivialized the death of 100s of people because it was what? Not big enough? “…because of an event that killed 150.” The context being: oh it’s just 150, what’s that statistically or in the grand scheme? You could have left it that we can’t be terrorized. Keep traveling. You didn’t need to editorialize or politicize this event even. Shame on you.

My Response: I trivialized nothing. I am making the same point I made after 9/11. We need to keep things in perspective, not let our emotions override our reason, not confuse fear with risk, and understand that if the terrorists terrorize us, they win and we lose.


Comment: I went with a group to Italy, 9/25/01. We prayed about going and everyone went. I thanked the flight attendants, and they cried. Guns everywhere. But the people were lovely and we remained unafraid. We are planning a trip to Paris in the fall. Be not afraid.

My Response: I was in Europe on 9/11 (Italy). While many people were rattled, to me there was nothing brave about that. Emotionally, Paris might be a challenge today. But logically, there’s no reason for fear there. 130 people out of 2 million died. Tragic, of course. But we need to keep things in perspective.


Comment: I totally agree with Mr. Steves! In 1985, my friend and I, along with our children, had booked a getaway tour to Europe with TWA. We were so excited and looked forward to this dream-come-true vacation. Two weeks before our departure, there was a TWA flight hijacked in Athens. We decided to go through with the trip. Had we decided not to go, we may never have seen Paris and be at the top of the Eiffel Tower and the rest of magical Europe!!!

My Response: I’ve been traveling since terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. I’ve been teaching travel since shortly after that. And over those years and many tragic acts of international terror, I’ve never heard anyone say they resisted letting fear of terrorism abort their travels…and regretted it. When you refuse to confuse fear and risk, and travel in the wake of a tragic event like what happened in Paris, you’ll be thankful you did. And, furthermore, you’ll feel empowered and good that, in your own little way, you stood up to the terrorists.


Comment: This doesn’t make sense to me: “the best way for Americans to fight terrorism is to keep on traveling.” I think better wording is “the best way for Americans to fight being terrorized by terrorism is to keep on traveling.” Fighting terrorism is fighting the terrorists. If I see a hornet, I look for the hornet’s nest and I take out the entire nest before it becomes a swarm. That’s fighting terrorism.

My Response: I think terrorism is a symptom of a deep problem. You can kill the criminals who commit acts of terror. But to “win the war on terror,” I believe we also need to consider its root causes. I know, this is too liberal a stance for conservatives. But, even though liberal, it could be correct. Just try imagining a conservative asking, “What makes these people so hateful and angry?”


Comment: Many people commented saying we should identify our enemy and simply kill them…boots on the ground, more bombing, and so on. Others expressed great fear that ISIS forces could overwhelm us if we don’t do something and fast.

My Response: I wish it was so simple. Terrorism is a symptom–not a bunch of banditos to be gunned down by some military force. The big challenge (along with maintaining our safety): how to treat the symptom. By the way, last Friday, ISIS lost eight of its most committed fighters and took 130 innocent people with them, killing about 15 people for each of their suicides. Assuming that our reacting with fear and terror doesn’t help them recruit many more fighters, they’ll never sustain these rates of casualties. Sadly, that’s a very big assumption.


Comment: Just remember when people throw the “30,000 gun deaths” number around: It’s 11,208 deaths by homicide (3.5 per 100,000), and 21,175 by suicide with a firearm. Increase firearm safety, handling and knowledge. Increase mental health. More stable minded people need to conceal carry. Thwart these attacks by being able to react–fight terrorism with professionalism–be a patriot.

My Response: Thank you. I’ve heard both figures. I’ll stick with 11,000 homicides by firearms a year in the USA. Still, that’s an enormous number.


Comment: I’m in agreement with not allowing ourselves to react with fear, but I don’t understand how this can be characterized as an isolated incident. Not only is it happening more & more frequently all over this planet, but this is the second such attack in Paris within a year!! Fear is not the answer. Knowledge & information are the answers!!!!!

My Response: Thank you. I agree “isolated incident” was a poor choice of words. Thankfully–even with so much freedom and so many soft targets and so many angry people–with the excellent security in Europe and the USA, these events are very rare.


Comment: We were in Egypt in November of 2011.We were docked there for 2 days on a cruise ship. We were not allowed out of a secured area without an armed guard. One man defied this rule and walked out of the gate. He was shortly after robbed and beaten. There was a museum tour that was cancelled because the building next to the museum was set on fire during a riot. We were able to travel to the Pyramids. We rode camels through the desert and toured many sites…all in a convoy of busses with armed guards. I enjoyed the trip VERY much. However I cannot say that I was safe, or felt safe. We are supposed to go to Italy this February. It will be our 4th trip to Europe ,so we know what it is usually like. Based on what I have read and seen on the news, I am considering cancelling. I don’t want to witness first hand what I have seen on the news! I felt safe walking around Venice at night. We walked all over Rome and Florence without ever feeling uncomfortable. This Muslim invasion is a game changer. I love you, Rick Steves, but I think you are wrong on this.

My Response: Happily, I think you are wrong on this. Egypt and Europe are two radically different tourist destinations. I was booked to travel to Egypt last month to shoot two new TV episodes and cancelled for the reasons you describe. But Europe is safe. In fact, it is safer than the USA. We took over 20,000 people on our bus tours through Europe this year. All came home safe and sound. I believe if an American who’s motivated only by physical safety understood the relative risks of being here or there, and if he cared about his loved ones, he take them to Europe tomorrow.


Comment: We plan to keep traveling to Europe (for now), but the fact is that gun violence here usually isn’t random and is primarily a gang/drug or domestic issue. The terror attacks can happen at any time and any place where large number of people congregate. The culture and face of Europe is rapidly changing, and you might want to ask some of the European locals how they feel about the mass immigration issue. It’s changing their lives and not in a good way.

My Response: It seems to me that the “mass killings” so routine in the USA these days are perfectly and intentionally random. Europe will be fine.


Comment: Rick, you may be right, but the landscape of Europe is rapidly changing with the influx of Mideast and African refugees. Unless Europe as a whole gets a grip on this, these types of attacks will only increase.

My Response: Europe is a geriatric continent with a growing need for young workers. I’m confident 500 million Europeans can absorb a couple million people looking for a new start. Apart from giving these people a compassionate welcome and being ever smarter with security, it’s important that we in the West not contribute to the instability of the Middle East, but actually find a way to help make it more stable.


Comment: We are in Paris for a week. Had a fantastic visit to Versailles yesterday and a lovely Parisienne dinner at a sweet brasserie last night. Paris is wonderful! We have four more days to wrap our arms around this city. We’ll do just as you say Rick, and keep traveling!

My Response: That’s wonderful to hear. I’d love to wrap my arms around my favorite city with you.


Comment: I’m headed to Europe on Wednesday and Paris is last city before we head back home.

My Response: I wish I could walk through the streets of Paris today as normalcy returns to the City of Light.


Comment: Exactly my sentiments, Steve. Security will be heightened, and to avoid traveling will be giving in to the terror they are trying to impose. I will still be traveling to Paris next month, despite my family’s insistence that I cancel my travel plans. I told them that if I died, at least I died doing what I love–traveling.

My Response: Ask your family to wish you “bon voyage,” like we used to before the age of 24/7 commercial news replaced that with the new and jittery “safe travels” sendoff of our generation.

Comments

98 Replies to “Don’t Be Terrorized: Your Comments and Rick’s Response”

  1. Why are you worried about terrorism in Europe when ISIS is right here already in America plotting something against us right now? We need to be vigilant and get better with coordinating with international intelligence agencies to thwart these plots before they happen. This isn’t just about Europe or Paris or other parts of the world, this is about the whole word. It’s the whole world’s responsibility to take in the refugees (with careful screening) so we can bomb the heck out of their country.

  2. Rick, you, as an experienced traveler have insight than most casual travelers. It’s easy for you to say continue to travel, because you have more contacts and the ‘inside scoop.’ When us regular folks travel, we tend to hit the tourist spots, the spots more likely to be hit by terrorists. I’m sure your not guaranteeing everyone’s safety, that would be ridiculous. If you are, my guess is that you’re opening yourself up to a plethora of lawsuits should something bad happen. It’s wise to be cautious, and while the odds of being invoare slim,lved in a terrorist incident are slim, if people are uncomfortable stay home. There’s great places close to home that many people haven’t visited yet.

  3. I agree, traveling has changed my perspectives on different cultures, religions and lifestyles. I happened to be in Turkey, the same day ISIS bombed the peace rally. However, this didn’t change my opinion on the Turkish people. I was extremely welcomed by the Turkish people and would definitely visit Turkey again. Initially, I was a little anxious on traveling to Turkey, due to all the media and non-traveling people and their opinions on Muslims. Rick, after reading your book, Travel as a Political Act, my nerves were calmed down. At the end of the day, we are all human and enjoy the somethings in life.

  4. I think your original post hit the nail on the head. Emotion and hyperbole needs to take a back seat to logic and facts. The fact is, if you are a tourist, and you are in Europe, your odds of dying in a terrorist attack are pretty much zero. In fact, if we are talking about tourists, more tourists were killed 3 years in a suicide bombing in Bulgaria (which none of these commenters has even heard of) than this last attack. The fact that people are acting like one attack is the end of the world, saying things like “they can’t protect us over there” is frankly insane. Especially from Americans with their third world rates of homicides. But boy it certainly makes sense when you realize certain media outlets have been pushing a steady diet of fear, hatred, misunderstanding and conflict for more than a decade to server their political masters.

    As to the people saying you are minimizing tragedy, this tragedy is 100% created by the media and their agenda. Of course it is horrible these people were killed … but as many including Rick have pointed out how were those wrongful deaths so much more important than dozens of other natural and manmade disasters in the last two weeks? When 43 tourists were killed in a bus crash last month in France did the media make such a big deal out of it? Was it 30% as much covered? Or was it .0000001% as covered? And why? Did the families of the 43 grieve less when their relatives were suddenly and unexpectedly snatched from them than the ones in Paris? Was their death less terrible? But bus crashes don’t sell ads. Breathless fear mongering with a side order of confirmation bias and schadenfreude seems to be the order of the day.

  5. Tragic to read what Fox’ so called “news”does to people’s minds. Thank you, Rick Steve for what you are doing!

  6. Paranoia is powerful. That’s why Fox constantly wants viewers to be afraid. Makes it easier to manipulate minds. For a nation that likes to strut, we seem to have a lot of fearful people. If you look at simple, verifiable statistics (which have a documented liberal bias), you will see that travel is a relatively safe activity. Just be smart and maintain situational awareness. That hand in your pocket might not be your own.

  7. “When us regular folks travel, we tend to hit the tourist spots, the spots more likely to be hit by terrorists.”

    In response to Ron G above – none of the spots hit were tourist spots. Had you been in Paris and were at any of the tourist spots you wouldn’t have even known what was going on.

  8. I was not addressing fear when I wrote. I was preaching respect and empathy. The people of Paris need to recover, bury their dead, and morn with time. The LAST thing they need are tourists asking questions in bad French. I never meant that people shouldn’t travel–I just did. Just leave Paris alone for a few weeks so they can both shed and wipe their tears.

  9. Thank you for your perspective Steve! We have a two week vacation booked for this summer and we were considering canceling it. We are a middle aged gay couple and we are a bit unnerved, to say the least, by what has happened in Paris and by the treatment of gays in the Middle East. Your essay has helped to add confidence in our decision to continue with the trip! Thank you again and keep traveling!

    Anthony

  10. Thank you for your article and for being the voice of reason. My daughter’s destination wedding is in Paris in 1 week and I never considered cancelling it for one minute. However, other family members are very frightened about getting on a plane to Paris. The difference in attitude is probably the fact that we have lived overseas for most of the last 24 years and they have never traveled abroad before. The French economy depends on tourist dollars and to stop travelling there is to hurt the country even more. We will go to Paris and have a wonderful time and more appreciation for a beautiful city.

  11. Thank you, Rick Steves, for addind intelligent conversation and insight into this tragic situation. Calm, cool minds are needed now more than ever. I agree that we have to continue to live our lives normally, including travelling. My son and his Romanian wife are in Europe for three months. I worry about them, but I worry when they drive from their home in Maine to our home in Connecticut! We are planning a trip to Paris in the next year or two and won’t let crazy people change that.

  12. I was driving to work and a story this morning on Chicago radio was that a high school group on a class trip that arrived Friday didn’t see any of the sites in Paris and stayed in their hotel until they cut their trip arriving home yesterday. I am so disappointed in their decision. While the events are tragic, they have somehow made Paris look more dangerous than Chicago. Chicago?! Despite the work of some terrorists, Paris is still safer than Chicago. Including all those that died in the terrorist attacks, more people have been murdered in Chicago this year than in Paris.

  13. I will continue to travel abroad. I may be more aware of where I chose to visit, but I refuse to let this tragic situation interupt my life and my passion for travel.

  14. Rick, thank you as always for bringing a reasonable and enlightening view of travel to the masses. We live part time in Europe (Budapest) and while conscious of possibility as we travel, we nonetheless have a much greater fear here in US because of the U.S. urban terrorists we face daily.
    We simply adhere to the ‘Keep calm and carry on’ mantra, fFear drives hate and represents surrender.

  15. My wife and I spent the entire month of September in Paris in an apartment in the Marais. We had a great time. Paris is a wonderful city. Now that we know it, we are planned bang to return for another montth next May. I do not fear terrorists any more than I fear street criminals here. I can say we also spend several weeks in the winter in Los Cabos, Mexico and always have a great time there, as well.

  16. I was a bit disheartened to see you say you’d canceled plans to go to Egypt, Rick. My sister and I have plans for Rome and Egypt in October 2016 and decided from the get go that terrorist concerns weren’t going to stop us. I know there are armed guards all over Egypt, particularly the tourist sites, and frankly I’m glad they’re there! Our Egypt tour people (Archeological Paths Tours) continues to assure us that it’s safe and our safety is their main concern and if they don’t feel they can keep us safe they’ll cancel the tour. I’m curious as exactly WHY you decided to cancel your plans to go back to Egypt. I agree that if we cower in our homes that the terrorist win!

  17. Dear Rick,

    I love your attitude and deep understanding of the safety of travelling the world. I totally agree with your comments about the fact that many more people are killed by guns on the streets of America every day. And yet because we are manipulated by the so called “news” agents (I have always called it high level gossip) we only focus on what is deemed news worthy by the media. Now if you want something scary to think about then that is it!

    P.S. My husband and I are sailing around the world in a 37′ sailboat without a gun on board (of course!!). Some people insist we are crazy and are taking unnecessary risks… they are the ones too paralyzed by fear to try it themselves.

  18. The recent events in Paris are having more impact due to the random aspect of the attackes which indicates they can happen anywhere at any time. Here in the USA we have these types of random shoots all the time in almost every city yet people from all over the world visit the USA. Tourism is a major part of our economy. What would happen if the rest of thw world held to our isolationist attitude? Given the logic of some of the comments here I wonder if some people will even leave their homes. Travel and exposure to other points of view are the only way to bridge the gaps in understanding behind our world’s problems.

  19. Rick, THANK YOU for the wonderful work you do!!!! Also thank you for being a thoughtful and intelligent voice of reason. Your gospel of get out there and learn, explore, and experience is actually the best antidote to hate and violence. It is only when we fear and demonize other people and cultures do the merchants of terror win. Through travel we learn to see and respect thoses who are different from us. Thanks again and keep traveling – Bon Voyage!

  20. Rick, your responses are some of the best and most balanced remarks I’ve seen about the tragic violence in France last Friday night. I want to thank you for your calm, thoughtful remarks. It is much appreciated.

  21. I am sitting in an Antalya Hotel on the Rick Steve’s Best of Turkey 13 days. 12 people canceled from our tour and we ran into another tour group from Colorado in Konya who also had 12 people cancel. We are a really not very far from the Syrian border, however, do I not feel unsafe. No.
    Turkey is a very modern country, there are so many interesting archeological ruins and other activities to explore. Where else can you get a real Tukish bath or marvel at the Hagia Sofia dome. Tourism breaks down walls. You want to fight terroism. Visit a country and the people who live there.
    Alan

  22. Rick, I was following your comments with interest until I read your “I know, this is too liberal a stance for conservatives. But, even though liberal, it could be correct. Just try imagining a conservative asking, “What makes these people so hateful and angry?” I read it several times to see if I was misinterpreting it, but I’m not, and I’m disappointed in that statement. Please, whatever your political position, what we DO NOT need more of is party cross-fighting and bashing. What makes you think conservatives don’t say that? I certainly did, and do frequently wonder that – and try to rectify anything I do to add to a negative situation. Please – leave politics out of this. (At least regarding American political parties!) Thanks.

  23. Thank you, Steve, for keeping our perspectives in place. You do so much good with your travel programs, fostering open mindedness, tolerance, love and understanding of other cultures and people. Keep up the good work!

  24. It is very difficult for me to put Friday’s terror attacks in Paris into perspective. Rick Steves is the man who unknowingly mentored me to not be hesitant to travel to Europe, and to do it independently and confidently, taking control of my international destiny on two separate trips over the past five years. He has made experiencing Paris, Switzerland and especially my ancestral home country of Italy a joy indeed. A thousand thanks to Rick & his staff.

    But I am having trouble reconciling his remarks about acting and traveling normally post-Paris. I don’t see how one can NOT factor the terrorism into plans and itineraries. We just were in Paris in February, only a month after Charlie Hebdo, and dined one night very near the Cambodian restaurant involved in the Friday attacks. Randomly, we could have been one of the ‘soft targets’ the media has discussed as ISIS’ new modus operandi. At the time, yes, we thought Paris was safe now that the Hebdo attack had taken place, much like the old adage of lightning not striking twice in the same place. I feel differently now.

    I think Rick has an obligation NOT to brush the very real risk aside, that there is clear and present danger in certain European cities solely due to ISIS for the foreseeable future, and to adapt accordingly. He needs to use his extensive knowledge to advise his readership in this regard, to be practical in his views of traveling in present-day Europe, to pick visiting spots ever-judiciously, and to not brush the deaths aside by reciting percentages and saying that American cities are much more dangerous. We already know that. We’re broken—that’s why we love Europe so much.

    Rick & staff—please take this in the right vein and I will be looking forward to your response.

  25. Rick, thank you for sharing this dialog, along with your volumes of travel tips. My wife and I are experienced European travelers because of you.
    We will not let these attacks deter us from seeing and immersing ourselves in other cultures. To cut back on travel is to give the terrorists a too-easy victory.
    Our vacation this year was to Greece, over many warnings from friends that the country was teetering on the brink of ruin. We went; we had a marvelous time; we spent Euros where they seemed to be much needed; we met wonderful folks with love for their country and culture and visible pride in being European and in the contributions their country has made to the civilization we should never take for granted.
    My heart aches for Paris and for those who have suffered loss at this latest atrocity (which will sadly not be the last). But I will not live my life ruled by fear, and I thank you for stating the case for travel to a world that we must all know if we are to share it together.

  26. We have traveled to 18 countries in Europe at one time or another. One always travels being aware of situations in any country whether thieves (we had a camera stolen in London), pickpockets (we were advised about gypsy groups working airports in Budapest) the airport was practically empty – no one there except helpful people. We never had a problem in other countries.

    One travels to be part of another culture for a while, to enjoy the historic scenery, walk in the footsteps of Socrates in Athens, or ponder Dachau in Munich, to see art and architecture one has only enjoyed from Rick Steve’s great triavelogues, and to make memories.

    We are not wealthy people but save our money and feel delighted to travel. That will never change or the terrorists win. Recently someone told me of going to Israel via Turkey – I wouldn’t chance that right now. It’s common sense to evaluate the real or perceived risk and act accordingly.

  27. I wil still return again next year to stay at the Hotel Marais Bastille..I am not afraid and will not live my life in fear of anyone or anything.

  28. My friends and I stayed at your wonderful hotel in June, 2013, and I hope that you and your staff are doing okay after all the happenings in Paris on Friday night. Sad and may all of you in Paris be safe and come out of this disaster.
    Peace, hope and love for the City of Paris. God Bless

  29. Thank you for being the voice of reason. The fear and paranoia have reached 9/11 levels here and somehow every Muslim is now a potential terrorist. My family traveled to Turkey a few years ago and while we were somewhat hesitant about the trip to a Muslim country, we found that the majority of Turks want what we want-to live and work to provide for their families. Most people here in the US have never lived around Muslims and unfortunately our media seems to be demonizing them.

    There’s more of a chance of being killed in an auto accident then terrorism, yet we all still get in our cars everyday and drive to work. Fear is what terrorists want and I for one will not let them run our lives.

  30. Thank you, Rick, for all of your work- and for these posts. I am (still) planning my first trip to Europe next summer and wanted to know your thoughts about the matter. I was appalled by those accusing you of selfish motives- they aren’t paying attention to your work or your message. Your response to them was spot-on. Can’t wait for next week. I will be there for some travel consultation, and to put a deposit down on my Italy tour!

  31. I agree with you we have been planning our first European trip for 3 months now and we leave in April. In fact your Paris city guide arrived at our house on Friday afternoon just as news was breaking of the attacks. Terror strikes anywhere and we owe it to the victims to not be terrorized. It didn’t even cross our minds to cancel our tour, and not to be rude but hotel prices have gone down by 30% since Friday.

  32. Rick, I have enjoyed two of your tours and appreciate your entering into this discussion. When you call terrorism a “symptom”, I wonder what you mean. A symptom of what, precisely?

  33. I have followed you, Rick, for years and years and heard you speak in Washington DC a few years ago. I’ve been to Europe myself about 20 times, and was actually born in Germany. I don’t go on tours, i travel with friends or family or on my own. I am disappointed that you are even responding with the tone you’re using…..a bit condescending and snippy and defensive to those who don’t feel safe in Europe. Many parts of Europe have large immigrant populations that weren’t there just a few decades ago. It feels nothing like it did in the 60’s or 70’s. When we arrived in Munich for example i thought we were in Turkey. Given these recent events that might be unsettling to a lot of people. You make your living selling trips to Europe, you most definitely have a BIG vested interest in getting people to travel ASIDE from the educational and social opportunities these travels provide. Yes, the US is not safe but we who live here know where to go, or not go, as do any locals. When traveling in Europe we don’t know this. We wander around everywhere. We have an advantage at home, despite our crazy gun violence, that we don’t have in Europe. I used to love Europe but i will not be going back any time soon. To deny these hotspots, whole cities (in Belgium) that are terrorist havens, to deny that ISIS cells are being broken up in Germany and France as we speak…..that’s just delusional and irresponsible. It’s normal to be afraid and careful. It’s not the relatively low number of deaths in Paris, it’s that they were sitting at cafes or concerts, doing ordinary everyday things that would make anyone a target. That’s the real terrifying point here. Europe hasn’t been the same for a long time and it is rapidly changing into an altogether different place thanks to the EU and lack of borders in these very troubled times. Now they are dealing with the effects of open borders and laissez-faire attitudes and innocent people are paying the price.

  34. NPR’s interview of Hopital Saint Louis’ head of the emergency department Dr. Jean-Paul Fontaine was an interesting contrast in gunshot risk.

    http://www.npr.org/2015/11/16/456253966/emergency-doctor-paris-hospital-saw-unanticipated-number-of-gunshot-victims

    JEAN-PAUL FONTAINE: Usually in the emergency department in France, you may have a car crash. Sometime, one gun but not that type of number of patients was of gun.

    SIEGEL: Normally, here, just one gun shot on the weekend, or…

    FONTAINE: One per year.

    SIEGEL: Per year?

    FONTAINE: In Paris, that’s not like in the USA, you know?

  35. Perhaps I can offer another perspective here.

    My name is not really Joe I am just protecting myseld. I am a traveler. I am also possess DoD security clearances. As of Nov 16th the DoD and the President have banned travel to France if you are a DoD civilian, military or a government contractor. Its not just the hyped up fear-mongering news that is presenting this exaggerated fear either.

    Something that I haven’t heard talked about by Rick is the the US government including the beloved Obama hads banned travel to France. Why would an open minded president with a broader worldview ban travel to an entire country. Perhaps this threat is the real deal? Or maybe its just the required response so if someone does get killed He can’t be pinned for “doing nothing” In my personal opinion the ban is excessive and unnecessary.

  36. Paris, the world’s City of Light represents the light of love that cannot be defeated by anything. Love transcends time and space – the tragedy didn’t make the night darker. The good in humans lit the way through that night for those victims whether here or in their next life. I won’t be afraid because I know that they can’t kill my memories, ideals or spirit. My husband and I are looking to plan our next trip to France sooner than later. We stand with France and pray for swift justice and eradication of these lost souls.

  37. Maybe a good article on Paris would be where to watch yourself. Like obviously if you don’t know what you are doing be careful in St. Denis, or the metros that go there.

  38. Thank you Elizabeth for writing what I was thinking. Rick preaches having an open mind and asks readers/viewers to go beyond negative stereotypes put forth by the media. Making generalizations about groups of people based on a flimsy presumption (i.e. conservatives lack the enlightenment to understand the deep underlying problem) not only violates the standards he asks of us, but debases his original supposition that you should not let a group of terrorists keep you from traveling to Europe (which I agree).

  39. I live in New York and know first hand what Paris is going through. When the Twin Towers where brought down by terrorists I had made plans months before to visit Europe and the UK. I was told by most of my family not to go I should stay home to be safe. Well I didn’t stay home, I took my trip and I have to say it was the best trip ever. I will never give in to terrorists. I still travel as often as I can and love it. I feel horrible for what has happened to the people of Paris but they are strong like New Yorkers and will come through this even stronger.

  40. I already have one trip booked to southern England next year. And am looking to do another. Probably best of Europe. Not going to let these thugs stop me .

  41. We are scheduled to be in Europe in June, 2016 to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We are in great health for a couple of old geezers and we look forward to two weeks of total joy as we see things we have only read about. We have been promised we are protected from those who would seek to harm us. We have been promised a feast with our Savior when He is ready for us to join Him in a place He has prepared for us. We do not fear anything on earth.

  42. Rick is so right. By giving up your plans and taking away support from our European friends, you play directly into the plan of terrorists. I have terrific heartfelt sympathy for the families of the victims and I refuse to allow the terrorists
    to intimidate me. I will be following my agenda now as I did after 9/11. I do not fear nor respect these criminals. Je suis Paris.

  43. Rick, I’m disappointed you introduced liberal/conservative political differences concerning this tragedy in what should have been a genetic analysis by you of travel in Europe and related risk. One lesson I’ve learned the hard way “on tour” is to avoid politics and religion. Rick, it’s good advice for you if you care about being a good traveler.

  44. I am not as concerned about safety on the ground as safety in the air. While true that only a tiny fraction of the population in Paris was murdered, 100% of the crew and passengers were killed on the Russian airliner bombing. Something must be done to fix the 97% failure rate of the TSA. If TSA is as bad as reported, the bad know this too.

  45. Yes, we shouldn’t allow terrorist attacks push to place our lives on hold. However, this is not an isolated event – it is a campaign. We may not be at war with ISIS and similar terrorists but they are clearly at war with the West. While I plan to continue to travel to Europe, I will remain flexible and guided by changing conditions to make last minute changes if warranted – these are not normal times, and low statistical probabilities are not reassuring.

  46. I was leading a student group on a trip to Japan when the 1991 Gulf War broke out. We heard about people being afraid to fly, but we had no choice. It was a great flight. So many people had cancelled their flights that we each had a row to ourselves.

    I was scheduled to attend a professional convention in Los Angeles shortly after 9/11. I considered cancelling, but coincidentally, two acquaintances, both young and healthy, died suddenly and unexpectedly, one from an aneurysm, the other from a post-surgical blood clot.

    I realized that there are many ways to die and that we should not wrap ourselves in cotton batting to avoid unlikely dangers.

    I went to the conference on a half-empty flight and had a fantastic time.

  47. The emergency room Doctor who treated people from the Paris attack said they generally only have one gunshot wound a year and it was a difficult night. That’s all I needed to hear about the safety in Europe vs. the USA. I’d be happy to have only one gunshot a wound a year in my little town of 120,000. Paris has 2.24 million. I always feel safer in Europe than here in the USA. Walking after dark in European cities is totally different than walking after dark in USA cities. Keep on traveling Rick.

  48. I was born and lived in south central Los Angeles. Killing in the area was was everyday, most by guns. In the morning we got up and walked to school or work. You could not let the bad guys rule the city. We cannot let the bad guys rule the world. Am 73 and still going all around the world and loving it. Better then locking myself in my room in Los Angeles. Keep traveling, go Rick.

  49. i booked a trip to istanbul, turkey, last friday the 13th…fearful is afraid…be fearless…no fear…i wish i could go places i can’t…terrorists are everywhere!!!!…don’t let their game win!!!!

  50. Following the 9/11 attack, Azumano Travel in Portland, Oregon organized a group of Oregon residents to travel to New York to show our support and to show that we were not afraid to travel to New York. Then-Portland Mayor, Vera Katz and several members of the delegation marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Would you consider orgainizing a special tour to Paris to allow us to pay our respects, show our support, and show that we are not afraid? If you do, I would love to receive information about this.

  51. Dear Rick: I agree with everything you wrote. Traveling and mixing with folks from other countries is the best way to respond to world events. By giving into fear, we are “terrorizing” ourselves and our families and our impressionable children. Our future cannot be paved with fear.

  52. Our family is leaving for Italy on Dec 15th for a month. My sister freaked out for a day. I will not allow them to change my life and plans. I told her on Saturday that Italy is safer now than it was last Thursday. We are always aware of what is going on around us. Travel smart and pray for safety. Her Pastor’s message on Sunday was about fear. All is well! I don’t agree with your politics, but I do love your insights! Happy trails!!

  53. Laving for Paris the day after Thanksgiving and never considered not going, Like many said, Paris will never be safer. My nephew is former CIA and encouraged me to go. I am 70 years old and don’t know how many more trips I may have in me health wise. Fear should never take away our dreams! That is NOT living!

  54. We were in Paris three weeks ago, had a lovely time just smoozing after a tour of Tanzania. I would love to go back tomorrow. Always feel safe and free. This horror could happen here or anywhere. We are going back to France with a Rick Steves tour in May. I am ashamed of the anti refugee conversation going on in this country. It breaks my heart that there is seemingly no compassion for people who have lived through unbelievable hardship. America needs to think about what being a human being is all about. Where is the bravery, where is the compassion, where is the common sense? Thanks, Rick, for teaching me how to travel since 2001. Jane Britton

  55. Terror seems to be a part of life these days. Some prior comments have mentioned bombings in the London subway, 911, and the Russian airliner that was most recently blown from the skies. Paris is another such event. A distasteful act of brutal cowardice. All the discussion about violence in America and the numbers killed across the nation which add up to many more than the 150 or so killed in Paris. So why make this such a big deal. But the issue is a big deal; much larger than these numbers suggest. It’s about a terrorist organization with an apocalyptic mindset that thrives on terror, fear and intimidation. An organization that has a root mission of world domination and has sleeper cells literally all over that world. It is recruiting from every country in the world. The recent tide of migrants into Europe is not coincidental but rather an orchestrated attempt to accelerate the Islamization of Europe. Among the many thousands of poor haggard refugees are members of ISIS and other terrorist organizations. To think otherwise is naive. We may well be safe in Paris now. But the threat will break out somewhere else like a cancer. To say it is a simply religious issue is naive. It is both a religious and political issue with an ideology that is frightening and needs to be addressed soberly. They have their sights on America, Israel and rest of the western world. Their intention is to bring us to our knees. Islamists with an apocalyptic mindset are merciless with a goal to usher in the end of days. They are obedient to Allah and find joy in the suffering of infidels.

    We will keep on traveling but I don’ t think it will be business as usual. We’re living in a world that is constantly changing and it is incumbent on all of us to discover what Islam is truly all about.

  56. Thanks for the voice of reason, Rick. I have a trip to Europe booked for next month and look forward to returning to Paris just in time for New Year’s Eve.
    Terrorism is a real threat, but any city in the free world could be next and if or when something like this happens closer to home, I would hope it won’t prevent tourists from visiting here.

  57. No place in the world is safe from terrorism! I have a Baltic cruise planned but may cancel it. But I am looking at a cruise in the US and Central America. Yes, be a tourist and travel but for now I’d rather do it in the USA. Our economy is not very strong and our government (all sides) is less than we would want.
    To blame Fox News shows how devided and delusional people are now! Internet news is spreading all types of lies but people use it all the time.
    Terrorism is a REAL issue. The problem is that it will pop up when unexpected, picks soft targets, has supporters and financing. This makes it different than ever before.
    Travel, do what you want, BUT be aware whever you are! Also please be nice to others and tolerant of all views. Too much offends us NOW! Too little real discussion takes place. Be considerate and rational, in travel and daily life.

  58. Dear Rick, your business is travel so it is obvious you will say “travel on people”. When we return to France, we will not fly into DeGaulle, but Geneva, so as to avoid the Paris suburbs. We will go to our regular places in Normandy and Brittney, and only drive into Paris for a few days to minimize exposure to fanatics. Europe needs to quickly change the open borders policy and act intelligently. This is a new world war, whether you wish to acknowledge it or not. The German government has made a profound mistake by admitting as many un-reviewed migrants and the terror in Paris will certainly happen again.

  59. Let me share my thoughts on travel and terrorism. My wife and I arrived in Cairo on Oct 31, the day the Russian plane was blown out of the sky, for a Nile cruise. The response in the country was amazing. Meaningful security increased dramatically over the next two weeks. We felt as safe as before this event, actually safer. The response of the people was amazing. So much of their economy is driven by tourism, which was finally recovering before this tragic event. Everywhere we were asked if we were Americans and when we said yes, they invariably said “thank you for coming!” Don’t be afraid to travel, but do be aware of your situation. PS: I would still heed the State Department warnings, which have been posted for years, and stay out of the Sinai.

    As for Europe needing to control its borders: Does the US control its borders between states? It is not any different.

  60. Iam a New Yorker & have lived through 2 World Trade Center bombings. I REFUSE to allow any terrorist group to determine my life. Be smart but do not cower, As the British WW2 poster staed Keep Calm & Carry On

  61. It’s simple. If you’re afraid, stay home. Cower in fear in your little home with your little things you keep for self-defense. Live your life a prisoner of fear and paranoia, constantly looking over your shoulder and suspecting everything and everyone of wanting to harm you. If you’re NOT afraid, keep traveling. It won’t be governments and surveillance and acts of mad terror that will take away our freedom and civil liberties. By letting fear take over we ourselves willingly relinquish our freedom and liberty.

    Rick Steves is a man who walks his own talk, who lives by the example that he’s devoted his life to teaching others. He’s right about most of what he says, and anyone who thinks his advice to ‘keep traveling’ is driven by selfish personal desire for his business to continue profiting doesn’t understand the man or what he stands for.

    But Rick has been wrong for several years about one thing. He’s been wrong to tout the existence of the European Union as meaning there will never again be war in Europe. I hope he stops making that false assertion because there is indeed now an asymmetric, stateless, borderless conflict where the combatants can’t be identified by uniform or language or documents. Welcome to the 21st Century. It won’t improve anytime soon, so we each have to decide for ourselves whether we want to live in fear or in freedom. We each have to decide whether the fantasy of ‘security’ — which will always be a false promise — is more valuable than the reality of freedom.

  62. I live in New York City. On 9/11 I stood in the street and watched both towers come down. I was scheduled to fly to Spain and Portugal on 9/21. Even though I was offered a full refund by Rick Steves and Iberia, I went anyway. People kept telling me to stay and my reply: so I should stay in NYC where I’ll be SAFE?? I went at the safest time with security at a premium everywhere. I had a wonderful time and everyone was very kind… especially to Americans. And I will go again, God willing, next year. Don’t let the terrorists win.

  63. We have a Best of Europe Tour beginning in April. Hope Rick doesn’t change a thing! Want the people of Europe to see we trust visiting their countries and cities. Can’t give up!

  64. Rick:

    You are right on target. Traveling to Europe is a very personal way to give the third finger to the terrorists. It says I WILL NOT BE TERRORIZED. YOU LOSE.

  65. Regardless of whether these types of attacks are caused by terrorists with a religious/political agenda, or mentally ill persons with delusions, or just plain criminals, with or without drug/gang associations, when you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you and your family can be just as dead. So whenever you travel out & about (here or abroad), be smart about it. Keep your eyes open to those around you and report suspicious behavior; note where the exits are in crowded venues (I like to sit near them); go to high-profile tourist spots early or late, to avoid the largest crowds and the increased risk they pose. And when you entrust your safety to others, like tour companies, ask what measures they are putting in place to address this. Do the hotels/restaurants/transport carriers contracted with have security alert systems in place/security guards available/elevators with key only access/tour guides that have been trained in how to best protect their clients in risky situations and address emergencies? Well, Rick, what say you???

  66. My travel plans will not change. To do so just means the terrorists win. Coincidentally we will be on a tour of France with Rick Steves next September and I look forward to it without trepidation.

  67. Rick,
    While your premise is sound, I think you’re leaving people with the idea that caution is not in order. No one in a position of authority can determine when or where the next attack will happen and we all know it will happen. Some of us are not as certain about the “theatrical presentations” of the media as you are. Some of us have experienced the darker side of being a tourist in Paris and other places in the world and are a bit more cautious about wanting to travel at this time to Paris or anywhere else. As time passes and the world situation with the terrorists treats being real or not so real gets clarified, we’ll reevaluate our sense of security and renew our travel.

  68. It is all about perspective, people! If you look at it that way, the risk is small. It is a true tragedy that this has happened and my heart felt sympathy goes to the victims families and the survivors as well. We live in a sad world but I refuse to let these punks tell me I can’t travel. The ISIS problem is complicated and is going to take a long time to fix. It is too risky to visit many areas of the world so I won’t be going to Afghanistan as an example! I plan on going to Paris in June. I am not cancelling my trip unless the State Department tells me to.

  69. Like Rick, I am a travel writer with three books to Paris. We travel to Paris every year for Thanksgiving and meet friends from Wales. With the recent terror attacks in the City of Light, many have asked us if we still plan to visit Paris.

    We understand that many will not go to Paris because they will be in a constant state of fear (and that would be a terrible way to travel). Here are five reasons why we are going to Paris this week.
    1. If we don’t go, the terrorists win. The terrorists want us to stay at home in fear. If we fail to travel, the terrorists have succeeded in one of their goals.
    2. The risk of being killed by a terrorist is incredibly small. The State Department has reported that 278 Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks overseas in the last decade. You have a better chance of being killed by a gun in the US than by a terrorist overseas. Remember that 375 Americans have been killed in mass shootings in this year alone.
    3. Paris is in a heightened state of security. Yes, there can be additional attacks by terrorist in Paris, but Paris has upped security in their “State of Emergency.”
    4. We know this will be a different trip. We’ll be extra careful. We’ll be more aware of our surroundings.
    5. Paris is the most fabulous city in the world, not because of the Eiffel Tower or the Champs-Élysées, but because there’s simply no other place in the world like it. It’s called the City of Light, but perhaps it should be called the City of Promise. Around every corner is the promise of another beautiful street, another bistro filled with people eating delicious food (Paris is a city where you have to work at having a bad meal), another building that in any other city would be remarkable, but in Paris is just another building. Walk down practically any block in Paris, and the sights, smells and sounds will excite you.

    Paris may never be the same, but we will not be abandoning it.

  70. Thanks, Steve for a refreshing perspective on travel to Europe. Yours seems a common sense approach rather than the fear-mongering discussions one hears from the media.
    God bless you!

  71. I am so glad, Rick, that you made a stand against the terrorists by saying “don’t give into fear”. I was on a grand tour of Europe when 9/11 occured. I would have flown back to Denver (home) within a matter of days but for the delays of flights. I ended up staying in Germany one more week and was able to take in another week of Nuremberg and Munich because the German people were so kind. When I saw all the American flags on every house when I arrived in Denver I was so proud of our country for handling everything as well as they could under the circumstances. Paris is an awful tragedy but I don’t believe we should allow terrorists to win and give into fear. The best way to show solidarity with France is to continue to visit her and know we are with her no matter what comes. Fear is not an option.

  72. Thank you Rick for sharing your candid views. It is quite helpful to hear a measured perspective from an experienced traveller. I believe cultural exchange is an essential component of a safe, happy and peaceful world. What better way to improve the world than to keep on traveling! My husband and I plan to join you on a tour of Belgium next year.

  73. I HAVE PAID A DEPOSIT FOR TRIP TO SPAIN IN MAY. I AM CONSIDERING TO CANCEL. MY WIFE AND I ARE WORTH MORE THAN 800 DOLLAR DEPOSIT

  74. I agree whole heartily with rick’s comments. My first trip to Paris was in April 2002. not long after the 9 11 attacks on the world trade center in new York city. we were asked then about why we w9uld fly anywhere especially to Europe terrorism only wins when we let what might happen deter us from doing what we want and exercising our freedoms. It is not minimizing the people who died were injured or their families to say that if you take a look at your chances of being involved in a terrorist attack is minimal we are talking about fear here and letting un reasonable govern our lives. When someone in the us goes into a movie theater and opens fire killing lots of people we don’t call it terrorism and don’t stop frequenting movie theaters but does it really matter whether it is terrorism by insane militants or and attack by an insane individual the people are just as dead and just as traumatized. and in the us this type of violence is what we face and seem to be becoming common place I love Paris I have been there at least 10 times since that first visit and wish I had been able to keep my pledge I made that first year to visit it every year for the rest of my life. finances and family issues at home have not allowed us to visit Paris since 2012 but I am very much hoping we can visit a few days while we are in Nice for 10 weeks in Feb. mar and part of April. I fell in love with Paris after arriving and leaving my husband in the hotel room going to find something to eat because I am diabetic and the time zone change can cause problems our hotel the hotel quai Voltaire is right along the seine across from the Louvre I walked around the neighbor hood and found a little sandwich shop and had my first Panini and got a coca cola light and discussed the French and English versions of banana and banan then I found the steps down to the river bank and sat on a bench enjoying the ambience and that was the instant when I fell in love on top of that I felt like I had come home Nice is nice and I love spending our winters there as we have three times and will again have an apartment there in 2016 I love carnival and the cheap bus fares that allow us to go all over the cote a’zur and the hill and going to villefranche sur mer for dinner and the lemon festival in menton but Paris is still where I feel most at home. please people don’t stay away the deaths and randomness of the last attack are terrible but it is not the suffering of others that keeps people away it is the fear that they may be killed or injured even though every day they get in their car and drive they are much more likely to get killed but no one gives up driving. any way I wept with those directly affected by the attacks and my heart goes out to them anyway I am rambling now I just wanted to share that I think ricks reasoning is sound Americans are chickens especially when it comes to foreign travel and the ones who stay away probably aren’t true travelers anyway

  75. “Watching the news unfold on Friday night, I decided to quickly write and post my thoughts…” (Dec. Tour News)
    Rick, I can appreciate your point of view but I think your comments were very ill-timed, not even one week out from the Friday, Nov. 13 events. Perhaps that is what is behind some of the pushback you’re getting. A heartfelt posting of condolence alone would have been more appropriate. There is plenty of time to chew over issues of fear, risk and the virtues of travel. For now I think you should have just acknowledged the grief we are all feeling at this moment and our thoughts for the French people.

  76. Rick, I would like to know how you feel about traveling to Tangier, Morocco? Do you feel its safe with teenagers? Please let me know and thank you for all your knowledge and advice!

    1. Hi Bill, this is Evelynn in Rick’s office. Tangier is included in a chapter in Rick’s Spain 2016 guidebook. It is a place that we recommend you consider hiring a local guide. Happy travels!

  77. My wife and I rented an Air B&B at the corner of Avenue Richerand and Quai de Jemmepas in October, one month before the attacks. From our balcony we could see the yellow awning for the Cambodge restaurant, just a few hundred feet around the corner is the Petite Cambodge and Carillion where nearly 20 people were shot and killed. Yes we were home safe by 1 month, but to have been in that neighborhood and that close, makes the whole experience seem a bit frightening and hit home with us. Yet, if I were offered to go right back to that same spot tomorrow, I would. From September 23rd through October 13th my wife and I drove most of Ricks recommended 2 week France road trip; 2500 miles roundtrip from Paris to Reims, Strasbourg, Eguisheim, Colmar, Bern, Annecy, Chamonix, Nice, Monaco, and Sarlat. We met many locals on our trip, some lovely, friendly people, and while we knew in the back of our minds that there had been recent attacks and more were likely, we never lost sight of the bigger picture: that we know we were more safe in Europe than we have ever been in Kansas City, San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago, New York, DC, Dallas, Houston, or many of the other large US cities we have visited. We hear all the time of innocent Americans catching a stray bullet, or getting killed in a random act of crime, and yet we don’t fear our own streets. Paris je t’aime

  78. There are quite a few really silly comments here, including notably those of Mr. Steves. The Government of Canada has a website giving travel advice (to Canadians) on travel to essentially every country (including Antarctica) Their advice re France and Belgium is hardly consistent with a relaxing and culturally enriching experience. The comparison of the probabilities of mishap on US streets with involvement with a terrorist attack is absurd. The probabilities are very low in each case, but most sadly, at the moment France is not France.

  79. I think if you are worried about your safety you should stay home! But let’s face it, things have always happened since the beginning of time and most likely always will. Life is too short to miss a good vacation! So keep on traveling! We went to Europe a month after 911 and had a wonderful vacation.

  80. The US State Department warned of travel oversea until Feb 24, 2016. Extremists usually target sporting events, theaters, open markets and aviation targets.
    How safe is it going to be in Italy since the warning about travel continues till almost the end of our planned trip on 25Feb 2016. I have not been impressed about Italy’s border security.

    1. Hi there, this is Evelynn in Rick’s office. Rick does believe you should still travel, yes. It’s our opinion here in the office that the distinction between a travel “alert” and travel “warning” is key. The alert is just to make you aware in your travels. A warning is the State Department actually cautioning you against traveling somewhere. Hope this helps, and happy travels!

  81. Rick – not sure/don’t agree with your comment about being too liberal for conservatives to understand…. But anyway, we plan to keep on traveling with a Rick Steves tour to Italy late this spring. Our tour to Spain earlier this year was awesome. Thank you. Fear is not a bad thing, but now is our time to travel and we plan to keep on keeping on. Happy Travels!

  82. Their have been people doing bad things that to most of us go beyond making sense. I fell off a bike when I was a kid, (many times) but I got back on. I don’t let fear factor into my decisions. Especially when others try to influence my course of action. Instead of fear, I choose awareness. Instead of hate I will TRY and understand, not to justify other’s evil actions but to become a better citizen of the world. I have a trip planned for this June and if I could I would go to Europe right now and spread happiness around the continent.

  83. The events of Friday in Paris were a tragedy by any measure. To allow this event to alter how we live our lives is an even bigger tragedy. My wife and I lived in Europe with three young kids in the early 1980’s. Anti-American protests were a daily fare but you have to keep living.
    Wether you are in Europe or locked in your closet huddling in fear when God calls you home you are going. Father Time is undefeated and you need to live your life like you do not know the time or place when he will come calling. Use your brain when watching the news or listening to our politicians on either side trying to shame us one way or another.

  84. Rick, would highly recommend that you carefully consider staying out of the liberal/conservative sphere. Think that comment is unnecessary and does nothing to help make the point you are making. Only serves to drive another wedge between people unnecessarily.

  85. Rick, we just got back from a trip to Europe, had a great time. I couldn’t agree more with you. Here’s my take on it. “Terror” is the (possibly irrational) fear of having something tragic happen to you. Yes, even having the restaurant or nightclub invaded and shot up by Islamist gunmen. But if you accept that there is that chance, however slim, and you take caution but go on and live your life anyway, including travel, then you remove the “terror” aspect of terrorism. You win, and the terrorists lose.

  86. We have traveled on your tours twice. Venice to Rome, and we included Asissi in 2007 and Paris & heart of France this year, with Julie. Both were perfect.
    That said, I wouldn’t minimize the tragedy by saying, in effect that it was only 130 fatalities out of 300 million, Rick. It just didn’t sound right.
    I know your heart is in the right place.

  87. We just returned from a 10 day trip to Rome. It was a triple threat as we were American Christians traveling to one of the stated targets, the Vatican, with a State Dept. travel warning in place. The Italians had police and military everywhere we went. We were reassured by their presence and we’re glad we didn’t cancel our plans. It is so sad it is the world we live in now.

  88. Rick without delving too deep into the politics of it all I agree with you completely about keeping safety and risk in perspective. I also believe we agree that our medlling in foreign affairs and military adventurism exacerbate the problem of terrorism rather than reduce it.

    The irattional fear perpetuated about terrorsim seems to be mostly one sided and as a someone who holds office in the Republican party I have never been more embarassed to admit that.I do however firmly believe that the gun control argument has little to do with the terrorist acts and more with my well meaning liberal counterparts attempting to use the events to push a long held position.I carry virtually 100% of the time (I am trained having served as an airborne infantryman for 8 years and worked as a DOD security contractor).I do this not out of fear but out the same vigilant mindset that I exercise when travelling unarmed abroad.

    I leave Wednesday for ten days in the Netherlands and Scotland.I do this no apprehension but excitement at the thought of a new adventure.I’m an American and we are born of rough hewn people who left their homelands to seeking out adventure and a better life.

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