Admittedly, I’m slightly hungover. Yes, the festive season of booze and merriment are far enough in the rear view mirror that about 66% of people have already given up on their resolutions. And yes, as some of you may have experienced, the “goon” I drank on New Years can bring about a pretty killer hangover, though it rarely lasts more than a day or two. So why am I still hungover? It’s more of an emotional hangover from the fear mongering media zoo that was 2016!
This is a rather crude way to start ‘The Journal’, but if you’d landed on our planet right now, turned on the news and watched ‘A Year of Fear: 2016’, you’d get right back into your ship and get the fuck out of here.
Most people probably wouldn’t blame you. Well at least not your obstinate relatives, colleagues or even friends. But if you did, we have to say we think you’d be making a big mistake – and that’s really the point we are trying to make here.
There’s no doubt that 2016 was a year filled with horrible, senseless acts of terror and war. My heart aches for Syria, Germany, Istanbul and Paris, just to name a few, but my belief in humanity and our inherent goodness does not. We must not give fear an inch. Just as Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, said immediately following the devastating attacks, “We do not wish to let fear and angst take away our freedom to live. If we allow recent attacks motivated by terrorism to make us live in fear, hate, or stop us from engaging in our way of life, then terrorism has won.”
I’d even hazard to say that this mindset may be deeply rooted in your heart as well. While I haven’t met you yet, I know that travelers are a special breed who open their eyes and their hearts to the world.
A greater responsibility is now bestowed upon us backpackers. Beyond the life changing experiences we enjoy by immersing ourselves in new cultures, we must share our newfound lessons and insights with others (but not in the annoying, know-it-all way). And yes, we are 100% serious when we say that this has to go beyond the beautiful photos and videos we post on Instagram. It is the lessons of tolerance, acceptance and our shared humanity, the very essence of what we experience while traveling, that we need to share. We must strike back with acceptance, compassion and love wherever prejudice, bigotry and the burning fuel of fear exists.
So if you want to put one resolution back on the table, we hope that you will choose to speak up and do your part to stop the spreading fear. We know it will be number one on our list this year.
The Kosan Team