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When you travel you will often hear the phrase. Isn’t that place dangerous? If you read the news it seems that the world is a pretty scary place. We read about gang wars in Mexico, women getting raped in India, tourists getting mugged in Marseille.

I seldom feel scared in the countries where I travel. Of course you can get mugged when you travel and I guess it is more likely to happen in a developing country because you are richer than them.

But it is still not very likely to happen.

It’s not only your home country that’s safe

The reason why I suddenly thought about people’s fear for foreign countries was because Celia wrote a blog post in Danish about how cheap you can live in Mexico instead of our home country Denmark. Some of the reactions were that you can’t raise your children in a country like Mexico. Apparently they can only grow up in safe Denmark.

I began thinking about the time when I lived in Zimbabwe when I was 11–13 years old. According to the reactions on Celia’s blog post it should have been a terrible experience for me. I should have felt very scared there. I was a kid in a country where there was a big gap between rich and poor. A very big gap. People lived in townships in houses that had tin roofs. We lived in a big house with a swimming pool.

I never felt unsafe. Not once.

You don’t want to leave your comfort zone

I agree that Denmark is more safe than Mexico and Zimbabwe, where I lived. But the truth is that fear is a feeling. If you parents make you feel safe then you aren’t really scared as a kid.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t want to leave Denmark to live in Zimbabwe. I didn’t want to leave my friends. When you are a kid you look at what you leave behind. You don’t think about what you are going to gain in a new place. When you feel safe you don’t want to give it up. It doesn’t really matter if you have to move to a new school 50 km away or start a new life in another part of the world.

It’s scary as hell.

My new home

After a while Zimbabwe became my new home. I felt safe in Zimbabwe and it’s the reason why I don’t understand people who say you can only be safe as a child in a country like Denmark.

Children can feel safe in the strangest places. It wasn’t like we only stayed in our home and that was the reason I felt safe. I remember being in a township where my parents and I were the only white people. But I wasn’t scared because the people were nice. You can travel all over the world and you will meet a lot of happy people. The reality is that most people are good.

A foreign country is someone’s home

I don’t think you can find a country where there is a majority of bad people. I agree that some places are worse than others.

I wouldn’t want to raise a child in a country where there is war or choose an area famous for kidnapping people.

But even in such places most people would be nice to you. For them it’s their home and they don’t want to live in a war zone or in a place with a lot of street violence.

You have to remember that if you only read the news most places in the world seems dangerous. My old grandmother is scared of the Danish capital, Copenhagen, where I used to live in Denmark.

She lives in a small community where she reads about gun shots in Copenhagen. Yes, we also have gang violence in Denmark. But I don’t feel unsafe there. I don’t know anyone who is. It’s their home and they feel safe there.

In Denmark we have pedophiles, thieves, rapists, etc. My point isn’t that you should avoid Copenhagen. It’s a very safe and beautiful city.

But even a safe city has criminals.

Be careful and be safe

I’m not saying that Denmark isn’t more safe than Mexico. It is. But if you are careful you are very unlucky if something happens to you.

In a lot of countries you are told that you shouldn’t walk around or drive when it’s dark. So don’t.

If you are careful you can easily travel or even live in a country like Mexico with your children.

Your children will be safe if you are doing your job as a parent. It’s true for both Denmark and Mexico.

It’s time to stop believing that your children only can grow up in your home country. I don’t mind if you choose to raise your children in your home country, but if your reason is that the rest of the world is unsafe then I’m here to tell you that you are wrong.

What is your experience of travelling when you were a kid?

I’m a Dane who loves sunny weather, crystal blue water and palm trees. I’ve a degree in Master of Arts in Media Studies from The University of Copenhagen. I earn all my income online as a Danish copywriter.

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9 Comments on The world is safe

  1. parul
    February 4, 2014 at 9:57 am (3 years ago)

    We hear that all the time. But its not just some country here people feel you can simply not move if you have a child.
    parul recently posted…Travel inspiration #4My Profile

    Reply
    • Hans Jonas Hansen
      February 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm (3 years ago)

      Yup. I don’t doubt that it’s easier for us to move than a family with children. :D . But it’s not impossible if that is what you really want. I never felt more Danish than the times I travelled. :D

      Reply
  2. Denmarktodelaware
    February 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm (3 years ago)

    Spot on! Thank you for putting this into words! Our fears are based on our feelings and (mis)conceptions about a certain place. Nothing is ever black and white. Great post!

    Reply
    • Hans Jonas Hansen
      February 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks :D. I agree that fear is based on a feeling. There is nothing wrong with loving ones country and staying there forever. It should be love and not fear for the unknown that makes you stay in your home country.

      Reply
  3. Maria B
    February 12, 2014 at 3:20 am (3 years ago)

    I think it is very important to distinct the two terms Fear and Dangerous, one of them is a feeling, which you correctly point out, but the other one is quite real, and something you can not run from. You can feel safe in a dangerous country, but that does not mean you are safe.
    As you point out yourself, go by the “guidelines” don’t go out after dark if you are in an unsafe place, don’t go around bracking about your riches, that will definately put you in trouble.
    All I wanted to say is, that you might feel safe in a dangerous place, but that doesnt mean that you are safe.

    Reply
    • Hans Jonas Hansen
      February 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm (3 years ago)

      I agree with you. In most countries there are also neighborhoods where you probably wouldn’t be safe. If we look at the statistic you are still more likely to get cancer than get murdered in a poor country. Maybe not if we are talking about a war zone. :D

      So even in a dangerous place it’s pretty safe because most people don’t go around and kill one another. I read about a man crossing Afghanistan on bicycle. He only met nice people and had no problem. It’s of course more safe if you ride your bike in a country like Denmark. My point is that it’s so hard to say when you are in real danger and when you just fear something.

      I don’t ever think you should go around braking about riches. But in a lot of third world countries they can see you are rich by looking at you.

      When I lived in Zimbabwe and we visited a township in Bulawayo we drove in a big Toyato Hi-Lux, so it was probably pretty easy for them to see that we were richer than them. We were not in danger there because the people were so happy that we would visit them. But again we used the guidelines and visited the place in daylight.

      All this to say that I agree with you. :D

      But even when we speak about safety it’s because we are safer in a first world country than in a third world country. It’s not the same as you are unsafe in a third world country. But we will definitely use some safety guidelines because they will make us feel and be more safe.

      Reply

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