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By now, you’ve probably heard about the recent attacks in Nice, France. 84 people were killed and many others injured when a truck driver drove a semi-truck through the crowded Promenade des Anglais into a crowd that had gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks.
A horrible tragedy and at this point, I did not read anything that definitively stated the motives (though I’m sure that will change before too long).
Making the Nice attacks real… for me
I don’t always publish posts on breaking news like this, because I often don’t have anything additional to say and figure most people will see the news from other news sources. But when I first heard news of the Nice attacks (on the Points With a Crew miles and points Slack channel) last night, my first thought was “Wow – we were JUST there”. In the fall of 2015, we visited Nice as part of our trip to Europe. We stayed there a night before continuing on to Monaco the next day.
Reading some of the coverage of the Nice attacks again this morning, I saw that the driver was finally killed in front of a hotel and casino, after having driven 1.1 miles on the Promenade des Anglais. I then realized that the hotel was the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée, the VERY HOTEL WE STAYED AT!
Why the Nice attacks made me realize travel is the answer
Sometimes when these attacks happen, people tend to gloss over the news, especially if it was in a far away place without any personal emotional connection. And, tragically so, when we hear about similar news / attacks in the same place over and over again, instead of coalescing to try and stop it, I think most people’s default reaction is to just tune it out.
I’m sure it makes me a bad person that I don’t identify with every single death or attack everywhere around the world, though I hope and think that I am not alone in that. But my first thought last night was that travel is the answer.
When we get out there, experience different cultures and see the world, it helps us IDENTIFY with these other places around the world, in a way that just reading about them never can. I feel much more of a connection with these Nice attacks than the attacks in Paris a few months ago, because I’ve BEEN THERE. I keep thinking about the people in that bakery where we stopped for breakfast which was only a few blocks away and the lady that did not understand that my vegetarian wife really actually wanted a sandwich with just lettuce, tomato and cheese. Or the concierge at the hotel who spoke little English but managed to draw us a map to where we were trying to go.
I know that reading news about a place say, the Dominican Republic, where I spent 2 years of my life as a Mormon missionary, would have a much larger impact to me than say, Cuba, a similar place but one that I do not have any type of personal connection. It’s the same reason that I am more emotionally connected to these Nice attacks than say the attacks in Paris a few months ago.
It made me glad for the miles and points world that has helped me and my family experience other people, places and cultures around the world. It helped energize me too, to do what I can to help others to also have these experiences, and to be able to create these emotional bonds and connections. It’s only through these types of personal connections and emotional bonds that we can truly become closer as a world and as a human race.
What about you? Has travel helped you relate to other places, people and cultures?