What’s happening in Europe – Eyewitness Series. Part Two

It takes courage to have fun. There are these people out there who want us make believe that they have to protect us. I often sit and wonder why that is? Some people step into that trap and are scared already and I wish I could assure them that there is no need to be scared. It somehow frightens me too, to go to a place I have never been to or to talk to people I have never met before but my curiosity always wins. My dream is to ask as many people as possible how it feels to travel or to live in Europe these days.

Last week I asked three people from three different continents, Africa, Europe and North America how they feel about Europe. Read it here: What’s happening in Europe – Eyewitness Series. This week I asked Joy and Jenny to tell me about how it feels travelling through Europe. The Australian and the American are both equally fun and inspiring women and true world citizens. See for yourself...

Joy, a Pastry Chef and Journalist from the US, decided to move to Warsaw in Poland in 2010, from there to Istanbul in Turkey, and from there to Melbourne in Australia before she moved to London in the UK. She collects cookbooks and loves photography so much that she studied it. Joy writes about her adventures and experiences on My Traveling Joys. Twitter: My Traveling Joys. Instagram: My Traveling Joys.

Joy: Three hours before the London Bridge was attacked on June 3rd, I took an Uber home after work like I usually do after a long weekend shift. I didn’t think twice about the crossing the bridge that I commute across nearly every day.

When my husband and I woke up early the next morning, we had friends all over the world asking if we were alright. We had no idea that while we slept terrorists had attacked a popular London location. I was deeply saddened by the tragedy, but that didn’t stop me. I still had to get to work Sunday morning and that meant finding a different way to reach East London.

A few weeks later, I was back at the re-opened Borough Market and eating pork tacos with my co-workers – just meters away from where the attack happened. I feel like life must go on. I also love shopping for farm-fresh produce or eating the daytime street food at the market. I’m not going to change the way I live.

On September 15th, another terrorist attack happened at the Parsons Green tube stop – less than two km from where we live. Luckily, no one was killed in this incident.

For the past eight years, we have lived as expats in Istanbul, Warsaw, Melbourne and now London. I can honestly say that I’ve never felt unsafe in any of these locations. And even though Turkey has been in the news with its terrorist attacks and political uprisings, I recently spent a long weekend in Bodrum where I was welcomed as a foreigner.

I feel like bad things can and DO happen everywhere. We can choose to be scared and not go out to face the world. Or we can continue to live our lives. Perhaps I’ve become a bit more wary of my surroundings, but I won’t stop travelling around Europe OR living in London.

The Australian Jenny Freedman went from travel agent to travel blogger out of deep interest in other cultures. One thing she particularly enjoys is trying and tasting all sort of culinary highlights on her travels and at home in Perth.

Jenny Freedman: I absolutely love being in Europe. There is no way I would not come every year!

Yes, many people are saying, "Oh don't go to Paris, it's not safe" or "I wouldn't risk going to London, there's too much going on" but I believe that with a little common sense, and in some areas being a little more cautious than in the past, there's no need to bypass any of your favourite destinations. With some simple planning, travel today can be as safe as staying home! Avoid some of the more 'famous' tourist attractions or visit some of the beautiful towns, countries such as England, France and Italy are known for.

We have just started this year’s travels and are currently in the Greek Islands, where thoughts of terrorism activities do not exist. Life continues as usual. The people are as friendly as ever, the water even bluer and the food delicious. We visit here each year where life is laid back and our major decision is which beach to visit.

Italy will be the same! The threat of terrorist activity is not going to stop me taking part in the Passagiata in Rome or Milan, where the locals gather at dusk to chat, share a drink and are just "seen to be seen". It's not going to stop me visiting the waterfront in Lisbon and eating some of the best seafood in the world. Nor will it stop me chatting with the locals in broken French in the Marais district of Paris, because this is what I love doing. To not do those things would take away the whole raison d'être of European travel. I look forward to meeting, greeting, drinking and eating with people from around the world and from all walks of life both on this trip, and over many more in the years to come.

Our last stop on our travels this year is Istanbul. A city we love and we can't wait to be back there. I know the Turkish people will welcome us with open arms and be as friendly as ever. We may stay away from the main thoroughfare of Istiklal Cadessi and, as we've been many times before, we have no need to visit the tourist sites of Sultanahmet. In a place that not many tourists are visiting, we will be aware, and we will love being back there!

More about Europe I wrote this at the end of last year. Travel: This is the truth and nothing else. For more about Europe please also read Travel France. Strasbourg off the beaten track. The European Quarter - the Spirit of Europe.

From Berlin with love