We cannot escape this

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Travel has always served as a form of escapism. From the stresses of work, from our daily routines, from a life we want to leave behind. It has always been promoted as the thing that one must do to regain their sense of self, their well-being, and mental balance.

Travel has been many of those things for me and remains a great source of reprieve when I need it most.

But as we see our country implode, its ugliest, angriest, and most violence facets come to surface, there is one thing I have learned for sure: we cannot escape this.

There is no room for silence. There’s not time for sideline standing. It doesn’t matter that you don’t want to get involved. This is happening. 

I have often spoken about my experiences and fears of traveling as a woman of color. I have a feeling that more people understand that more now than they did when I first wrote about those experiences. They are still topics that remain uncomfortable to many, however now is not the time to put on my white gloves and handle people’s fragility and weak sensibilities with care. Now is the time for harsh truths, and the truth is that regardless of that escape we may seek, the problems will still here when we get back.

If anything, whatever dangers I may have feared as person of color traveling through this country and overseas have only become more possible.

As horrifying as many of the events have been especially over the past few months (I am not of the mindset that our country has just only now, since this new presidency, been having these issues. It’s just more obvious to a larger number of people.), they have a tendency to spread elsewhere endangering further the lives of people like myself and others who are usually the targets for such hate. No matter where we go. There are human rights violations happening all around the world, and there are activists globally who are fighting against them. To not see any of it would require to live your life in compliance.

As a traveler of the world, and a promoter of such, I cannot be silent about what is happening and make no apologies for disrupting the fantasy and escapism some may seek from blogs like mine but can’t find here because of how I am choosing to use my platform and my voice. Yes, this is still a travel blog. But travel for me has never been about creating false illusions and casting a pretty image when what we really need is light shown on the ugly truths. These conversations, our ability to face realities head on, and our dedication to raise awareness, as well as opening ourselves up for the same are the things that make one a better traveler and citizen of the world. I want a better world for my children, for me, for my community and I know many of us want that too.

This is why it is so important to find a way to get involved in your community. To put down your passport and find an organization, a movement, a people who are actively working to fight against the growing wave of hate. Because this wave, should it crash, won’t just land here. It will land overseas, in some of our most beloved destinations.

These hate groups have been brewing around the world. Of course, we only really hear of the radical Islamic terrorists, but that’s not how Brexit came about. I’ve spoken to many of my European friends and they are also fighting a restless white supremacy wave in their home towns. Hate groups have become a massive problem in Australia. It is not a random, isolated event, and it puts all of us in danger.

Now, this isn’t my way of discouraging anyone from traveling. I am looking forward to a month-long trip to Ireland in October with the family. But my temporary escape isn’t going to end what is afflicting my community of color and this country.

And so I get involved, here at home, in the fight and protests against not just this national epidemic, but also against the hyper local racism and abuse of power and police brutality my community has suffered from for years. I am new here, but this isn’t my first rodeo. Not because I am so brave, but because it is the right thing to do. It has been most of what I have done this year. I have connected with fellow activists who educate me and guide me, I have joined forces with local movements and groups that have fought this for years and years, right here at home.

I want to escape this too. I want to pack my bags and take my family far, far, far away from this country, this hate, this mess. But I can’t and so I try to fight against it. In doing so I have also found my tribe, a people who give me hope and courage and faith and a place to be angry and even rejoice in the small progress we may make because I understand that the real change starts small, on a local level, in our hometowns.

It’s why we can’t ignore the local politics, and must show up to vote, not just in the general elections but in ALL the elections – school boards, local townships, and more. If you are too busy escaping, than you aren’t here to help be the change you want and can be.

So, yes, go on that vacation, take that mental health day and disconnect from the world. Travel and be happy. But then come back home and get to work. Join your community and the many of us around the world who stand together against this growing wave of hate, bigotry, and racism. There is no escaping this, so we might as well make sure we end it. Together.

 

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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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