The Moscow airport bombing and the dangers of travelling …

I always feel a bit sick when I hear of disasters or attacks or something awful happening in places where I’ve been, and this morning’s news of the suicide bombing at Domodedovo airport in Moscow is no exception. On my second trip to Russia, when I took my mother along, we flew into Domodedovo from Munich, and we spent quite some time in the Arrivals Hall trying to find the guy who would drive us to our first homestay. I remember it in a whirlwind of “where on earth is he” confusion and the general chaos of Russia, but to think of what happened there today is really sickening.

I wondered if I’d take any photographs at the airport, but in between sending my brave mother off to ask (in Russian – English speakers were rare) if we could make a phone call to our host, and keeping an eye out through the crowds for a driver holding our name up, I obviously didn’t pull out my camera. In fact my first picture from that trip is this one: my two feet standing on Red Square. During my first trip to Russia, Red Square had been closed due to terrorist threats – hmm, a recurring theme there – so I hadn’t been able to take such a photo before.

However, my point is – and yes, I do have one! – that while these incidents certainly disturb me, they would rarely (or probably never) stop me from travelling. I know that some people add up these kinds of news stories and use them as an excuse to stay home, or at least to avoid “dangerous” countries. But you never really know where is going to be dangerous, do you? I’m betting those visiting New York in 2001 hadn’t picked it as a risky spot. While it’s obviously tragic that lives have been lost, unnecessarily, again, I think it’ll be sad if it puts more people off visiting Russia. Every part of life is risky, even crossing the road at home – and don’t most accidents happen inside the home? – and travelling can bring you such great rewards. Well, off my soap box now. Just saying, that’s all!

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