When Masha Hamilton told people that she would be going to Afghanistan in 2004, people reacted with concern. People urged her not to go to such a dangerous place, especially when she had children still at home. Masha went despite the warnings, and came back with a new perspective on U.S-Afghani relations. She believed we lost the hope and trust of the people in Afghanistan, because we were letting fear dictate our military moves.
The thought of traveling to Afghanistan for tourism does not strike me as a bright idea, but what Masha did seems like it could have made a good impression for U.S citizens.The Department of State has a list of countries under Current Travel Warnings. This list of countries goes in-depth as to why U.S citizens are discouraged from traveling within the given country. Of the 33 currently listed countries, 17 of them are listed either fully of partially due to terrorism. Most of the other 16 countries are listed due to fragile governments or ailing economies that have led to heavy crime.
Dismissing these warnings is not a very good idea. Many of the listed countries can be very difficult to deal with and if one is arrested or lost in the country, it can be tough for the U.S to get you back to safety. It makes me a little irritated to hear about hikers or tourists “accidentally” crossing into dangerous territory and becoming arrested. It is irresponsible to put yourself into a dangerous, yet preventable situation. Those that become imprisoned then must be fought for. It causes more tension between the U.S and other countries, and added hassle and expense to the U.S government having to rescue people.
If one is traveling to a high-risk country. Please, follow the Dept. of State’s instructions. Make sure to get a travel visa, and notify the U.S embassy within the country of your travels of your arrival and departure time and where you will be within the country, so that they may notify you of dangers that may occur during your stay. While Masha Hamilton’s story is inspiring, it was also dangerous, and should not be seen as proof that countries like Afghanistan are safe. Use common sense wherever you travel and you may have a more enjoyable trip.