What’s happening in Europe – Eyewitness Series Part Four

Travelling is good for the soul, it enriches every life, and it helps us to understand the world around us. The more places we see, and the more people we get the chance to talk to, the better we can understand others. I write about places I visit. I said this before, I love to go for walks at the Louvre in Paris, I love strolls along Southbank in London and visiting the Borough Market, I love to go for walks in the West of Berlin and I love to go shopping all around Las Ramblas in Barcelona. I’m there together with thousands of other tourists and locals who love these places as much as I do. Too many out there want to make people believe that the world is a dangerous place and that we should all live in fear of each other. This is something I can’t and won’t confirm.

No matter where I travel to, I enjoy talking to others and learn from them, it is not always life-changing encounters but the little things count too. I started to ask others how they see the world; I really would love to know how others feel about it and share their feelings and observations. For this part, I asked Lori Sorrentino, blogger, photographer and travel expert from the US.

Lori loves exploring the world, be it her own city or the other side of the world, she enjoys finding new places, people, and foods out there.

It is important to me that all publications are the full version of each eyewitness’s own feelings and observations. And now Lori tells us how it feels to travel in Europe these days. 

Lori Sorrentino: Editor Travlinmad

Lori Sorrentino:

It’s a Beautiful World Out There….Don’t You Want to See It?

It’s a strange world we live in, and getting stranger. In the US, life has certainly changed a great deal for us in recent times. After several government administrations who moved toward a more inclusive and global world, there are now those few who want to take the country back decades to an ideology based on fear and nationalism. In my view, that’s not making anything great again.

As a passionate traveler who loves international travel and not just exploring my own country, I first started feeling the impending change a few years ago when people we met in our travels began asking me about the upcoming US elections. Who do you support? they’d ask, and then they’d look deep into my eyes as if to find something more - my own fears perhaps, or maybe their own.

Among the many issues the world is dealing with today is the threat of violence and terrorism which has changed everything about our world. For Americans this is a relatively new thing. Before September 11, 2001, we were largely unaffected by the heinous acts that other parts of the world have experienced for decades. This underlying threat has impacted the way we move around and interact with the world at large. Just the mention of traveling can elicit bewildering looks and cautionary warnings depending on where you’re going. It’s causing more people to stay closer to home or worse, not travel at all.

For those who don’t venture out of their own town or country, the world can indeed be a scary place, with foreign cultures, unfamiliar customs and languages. There are other religions (or none at all - gasp!). For serious xenophobes, the little things can be the most daunting. I mean, how in the world do you get from point A to B in a foreign place? Cabbies can’t be trusted and could hold you for ransom or worse. What if the train derails? Isn’t there rampant poverty there? Do they have ATMs or cell phone service? And what about diseases? Who knows what ills and ailments are waiting for you out there. And by the way, what color is the sky in their world?

But that’s the point, isn’t it? For me at least, and others who travel - need to travel. How can we ever find the truth to these questions without seeing it for ourselves? Don’t you want to be part of it? To see for yourself without any biased third party telling you what it’s like before you even get there? I relish any chance to get outside my comfort zone and learn about the world. I travel for many reasons, mostly to see how the rest of the world lives so we know what’s working and what we need to change. But I also travel for me, so I don’t look like a sheltered idiot to the rest of the world.

We’ve been in Europe and Italy several times in the past few years including this summer when we spent time in Italy, Germany, and the UK. And though I’ve sensed a greater awareness amongst locals about the state of affairs in the world - especially about the US and our “situation” - I must say I’ve felt as comfortable traveling around as I always have. Things aren’t always what you hear on the news about traveling abroad. That’s not to say you shouldn’t heed travel cautions before planning your trip. But never once did we feel threatened or unsafe, and the only tension I ever felt was from aggravated tourists looking for their guide!

I don’t claim to know all the answers to the complicated questions facing us today, but without a doubt - without a doubt - I do know this: being fearful and distrustful of the rest of the world won’t help. Staying locked up in your home when you could be traveling and exploring this big, beautiful world of ours, won’t keep you safe. It’ll keep you misinformed, and alone.

I hope I’ll be seeing you out there.


Find Lori Sorrentino on Twitter.

More eyewitness’s experiences

More about Europe

I wrote this at the end of last year. Travel: This is the truth and nothing else. For more information about Europe please also read Travel France. Strasbourg off the beaten track. The European Quarter - the Spirit of Europe. Follow me on Instagram to see my recent and ongoing European adventures.

From Berlin with love