September 11/2001... Travelling abroad will probably never be like it once was.
I used to travel. I miss travelling. In particular, I miss the feeling of the unknown. Trying to navigate my way through a busy downtown city centre while not knowing the language most are speaking. Being somewhere that I’ve never been. And, trying different foods and flavours that I wouldn't experience here in Canada.
I will travel again.
My next trip will be to New York City. The Big Apple. The City that never sleeps.
Many of you may have been there. Maybe more than once. But I have never been. I have only recently started to get really excited about travelling again, now, with my family.
After 9/11, travelling became, as most of you already know, a nightmare. I have been fortunate enough to see much of what Canada has to offer and have travelled through the U.S. and South East Asia. All before 9/11. I did have trips to Africa and Europe planned but they fell to the wayside once security at airports became not worth the trouble. I have seen firsthand the recklessness and ignorance that airport security display while going about their job. All the while, treating passengers with disrespect and often detaining people who show the slightest bit of disdain for the shabby treatment they are receiving. For me, it is just not worth the hassle.
I have opted, in recent years, to drive across our continent and see all that North America has had to offer. Alaska, Canada's North, most provinces and half the U.S. without one single incident at the border. Thanks to our boarder agents and the fine work they do. They may not always be chatty, but I've never had one be disrespectful and that makes all the difference.
So this fall I'll be taking my first trip to Manhattan and seeing the sights that one should see when they go to New York for the first time. The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, etc. But I do want to get down to the World Trade Centre and pay my respects. And, while we remember and grieve for the almost 3000 people who lost their lives on that sunny September morning, I'll also be thinking about the way that this tragedy affected my life and made me bitter towards the organizations that believe that making me take off my shoes and belt at the security gate save lives. It dosen't. Or the agents that dumped my sister's diaper bag in a container as she held a screaming one year old in her arms while one security agent accused her of smuggling drugs in the bag. Turns out it was diaper rash cream. No apology, no aid to clean up the mess and absolutely no lives saved. And don't forget the 70 year old women at Calgary airport, who had a mastectomy and had to disrobe in front of others being screened at security because they believed she was a threat. That day, no lives saved.
Hopefully travelling abroad will once again become a fun event instead of the bothersome chore it has become. I’m not holding my breath.
Feel free to comment below or e-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.