“But isn’t it dangerous?” is among the most common questions I get about riding RTW, as do other travelers, especially if they’ve ridden places like Colombia, Pakistan, Iran, Uganda, or any other country that the mainstream media deems to be sketchy. At this point, I’ve realized merely saying “no” just isn’t enough, so I usually ask people what would they do if they spotted a foreigner on a motorcycle in their local village, town, or city. “What would be your first instinct if you saw someone traveling, especially if they looked like they were lost or had a flat tire? Would you try to do harm to this person? Rob him or her? Try and extort money?”. Of course, people answer with a “no” and then add they’d probably offer help, or at least strike up a chat; they’d be curious; they’d want to hear the traveler’s story.
So if your first instinct would be to try and help or at the very least, remain neutral and just go about your day, why would it be any different in Colombia, Iran, or Uganda?
For some reason, the hospitality of local people in different countries around the world still surprises us. After years and years of travelers writing, blogging, and creating YouTube videos from around the world and showing the humanity and the hospitality of locals, we still feel suspicious about the world. When we’re told Iranians are among the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world, when we hear stories of Pakistani, Bolivian or Rwandan people helping travelers or welcoming them to their homes – we still shake our heads in disbelief and ask, “but isn’t it dangerous?”.
I wonder why that is, whether we can do better, and whether we need to keep those stories coming?
What’s your take?