Just today, news broke that an American man and his Canadian girlfriend were found dead in Belize. As of right now, there are no known facts about what lead to their deaths or the circumstances around the situation. I was drawn to follow the story because we just traveled to Belize this year. But as soon as I started reading the comments posted on the article, I instantly regretted it.
There is nothing more frustrating than comments made by people that:
- Don’t think before they speak
- Have no knowledge of the actual situation
- (and in this case) have never traveled outside of the US, let alone to Belize
The comments included a string of people condemning the conditions in “third world countries” and even more comments stating that “people should know this is going to happen when they leave the United States”.
I’m not a professional researcher, but I’m going to go ahead and assume that not everyone who leaves the U.S. ends up a victim of a crime. Just a theory. I would venture to guess the percentage is actually rather low.
My favorite comment was by a gentleman who said this is why he will “never travel to South America”. Someone give that guy a map at least.
I had to pull myself away from the rage that the wasteland (aka comment section) gives me and remind myself that I’m blessed. Blessed to have traveled around the U.S. and to other countries. Blessed to have had incredible adventures abroad that have shaped my outlook on life and the world. I have appreciated cultures outside of my own and experienced kindness from people who didn’t even speak the same language as me.
You can’t account for everything that is going to happen when you travel (or even when you leave your house). That’s why traveling is an adventure. But you can have a plan. Know where you’re going, who you’re meeting, and do your research. Trust people who have traveled or lived there before and take their advice on neighborhoods to avoid or times of day to stay at your rental.
Read up on where you’re going on the State Department website. They list all of the warnings for every country, and specific regions in countries, online.
While we don’t know what happened to this couple yet, it’s already a tragedy. I’m not downplaying the seriousness of the case – it’s heartbreaking. But don’t let fear keep you from missing out. There are bad people everywhere – including in your own hometown. Make a plan and take a chance. It’s worth it.