When I applied to Praxis in October, Zak Slayback interviewed me and asked me the question “What is something you believe that no one you know agrees with.” I have since revised my response, and it is the following:
(I preface my statement, as I did to Zak, that to be perfectly honest, I can’t think of anything that someone I know doesn’t agree with. I know many people with vastly different views. I’m not living in an echo chamber.)
Something that I believe that not many people would agree (or would care to think) is there is no such thing as a safe place.
This past year, when I would mention to other people that I would be backpacking by myself through Europe for six months, the most common response was “What? Aren’t you scared? Don’t you watch the news?”
It is precisely because I watch the news that I felt comfortable traveling at all. I am all too familiar with the dangers in my home country of the U.S. I have watched and read about the dizzying number of sexual assaults that are reported (and unreported) on college campuses. I recognize the reality of police brutality, gun violence, and terrorism, both domestic and international. I recognize the risk of driving in a vehicle that weighs over 2 ½ tons at 70 mph, every day.
If there is danger already prevalent in our world, particularly to me as a single young woman, why should that stop me from doing what I want and traveling to other countries?
It is foolhardy to believe I’m truly safe in America, living on a college campus. I would probably be less safe as a college freshman than a single 18 year old traveling through Europe. So I went for six months and survived.
When I was very little I asked my mom about the neighborhood across town, clearly a more economically depressed area compared to the suburb we called home. I don’t remember my exact question, but my mom’s answer was that there are other dangers in living in a wealthy suburb.
Materialism, detachment from reality (newsflash, a gate in front of your neighborhood will do little good against any threat, even tricker-treaters who don’t live in the neighborhood). When I was 12, an arsonist randomly burned my family’s house. We lived in a “good/safe” neighborhood.
To be quite morbid, think about human trafficking, child pornography, molestation, domestic violence, etc. While there may be some evidence that they’re more likely to occur in areas with lower income brackets, they still occur across the board. Horrifying.
I would rather live in reality than swan about in blithe ignorance.
Is this truth not somewhat freeing? Yes, there is danger. It is present in every day of your life, from crossing the street to flying across the world. You should not let fear control how you live, whether you’re blind to it or over obsessed with it. Rather, make calculated risks, and live as you desire to, and create value wherever you are.