Trust and travel

Trust is a commodity that is breaking down or under attack. I see posts that describe people who don’t agree with us as traitors. I had someone comment on one of my posts telling me that I am a ” liberal snowflake” whatever that means. (I don’t think the term translates into Australian)! Someone else on the same blog told me that my “right wing bias” was showing. I must have hit the right note!
We currently spend time telling kids to be who they want to be and we trust them in their choices. But we now spend time telling adults that they are wrong for holding a belief we don’t agree with. Worse we see people globally destroying sacred sites that are not of their faith, dispossessing people for not voting the way they “should” or murdering people who look, believe or behave differently to them.

We all have good reason to believe what we do, vote how we do and spend how we do. If what you do, does not affect my life negatively, then I need to learn to live with it.

Travel needs trust and travel builds trust. Travelling has demolished many stereotypes for me. Meeting Germans through my life demolished my belief that all Germans supported the Nazis. Meeting Catholic missionaries in the jungles of Central America taught me that there are many people who give up a lot to serve others with compassion. Meeting Arabs taught me about hospitality and (good food)! I discovered the French are not arrogant when you actually know some!  Not all Americans are loud! Malays have an amazing sense of humour. Belgians are helpful. The list goes on.

It is disturbing to see then that many Americans are considering cancelling international travel. Many people outside the USA are concerned about the US immigration processes which have detained a Norwegian Prime Minister, an Australian children’s  author and several sports people. So concerned they are cancelling trips to the USA.

The USA are talking about a new immigration ban after their heavy handed and poorly executed one last month. The country has just made it harder for skilled migrants to get visas there. The EU are considering refusing Americans visa free travel.

The clamping down on free movement claiming safety undermines trust. Banning all Syrians says all Syrians are untrustworthy. Having met many whose word was unquestionably sound, this is an unfair stereotype. By suggesting immigrants bring disease or destruction builds mistrust.

I am heartened that other countries are expanding visa waiver programs. Those countries may be the beneficiaries of tourist growth. The cynics who mistrust the other will say it increases the risk of terrorists. It may. But terrorism does not just sit in the other mistrust will  not dismantle terrorism. The only way to build peace is show peace and live peace. Civilian travel does that. Let’s not impede it unnecessarily.


  1. One translation of the term “liberal snowflake” is from an old saying among native Californians – “When it snows in the east, all the flakes blow west.” The expression is then accompanied by rolling your eyes up. That easterners were all bleeding heart liberals was always assumed. Believe the saying dates back to the early 1970s when California was overrun with invaders, leading to the Proposition 13 backlash of 1978. Of course, there may be other translations.

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