Friday, 6 May 2016

Traveling in Unsettled Times: Attitudes and Decisions

I will be returning to France next week and every casual conversation with acquaintances has included a question something like this: "Aren't you concerned about traveling in Europe and living in France specifically?" I usually respond with a Canadian example of how I feel about where I live in France. I make reference to the FLQ crises in Quebec during the 1970s when European relatives called our home, or so my parents have told me, and asked if we were OK? My family lived in Manitoba. I live in small town France and Paris is six hours away by motorway. As for traveling the rest of Europe, as I will in June, of course I have thought about it but it hasn't stopped me from making plans. I then tell the "story" of some unknown fellow who dreamt that he would die the next day as a result of his work in a mine, so he called in sick. I don't remember the details of the "story" but he died at home and so with an air of indifference, I make the comment  "when your number's up". That being said, we never put ourselves in any known or anticipated risk. Voila. Life is what it is and I will not live in fear or restrict my rational choices.

From another perspective, we have friends who have chosen not to come to visit us in France this summer. I am sure there are many who have decided that they could spend their vacation dollars in a place that would be less stressful in their minds. That's rational for them. I wonder how I would feel if I did not own a home there?

I am looking forward to going back and really I don't think about the whole terrorism thing very much. In fact security is at its peak and when you have nothing to hide, it is as safe as any other time. In fact there are those who claim it is the best time to travel. There are bullies at all levels of society and I hope that their motivations will change over the years to accommodate a pluralistic world society including religious, cultural, psychological and physiological variations.

Clothing is one small element to consider in cultural understanding and I admit that I do have trouble with clothing that obliterates and masks who and what you are. That being said, I have had wonderful opportunities to enjoy the company of those who are celebrating, albeit perhaps celebrating in what technically would be called a "mask", their clothing, hiding their maleness or femaleness. That which I have "trouble" with is more the total coverage of the body by women and men too (if they did it) for whatever reason. Yes, I can understand, at least academically, why they cover themselves from head to foot but . . . to cover up one's face in a time of necessary transparency seems ominous. If you want to cover your face from strangers, particularly men in the mall while shopping, fine, but to insist on it with government immigrant officials, police officers or airport security may suggest you are hiding more than your modesty (at least that might be what someone raised in a democratic and tolerant place might think). 

Understanding has to be reciprocal and so I hope others are as patient with us as they expect us to be with them. My Libra-ness is coming forth, needing balance and other such things, because I recognize the point of view by some that Canada has a "pushover" disposition and is a haven for those with sinister thought - I suppose that side develops because it is considered a peaceful and respectful place to live and visit. 

I could debate with myself longer; however a clothing blog should not be the place to vent about politics or religion or those things that are basically out of our control - other people's thoughts and philosophies particularly . . . I promise the next post with return to a more frivolous topic and one that I have complete control over. 


  1. I like your attitude and your plan. First off you've settle in a comfortable part of France. You enjoy the finest things in life in a 99% safe environment. You can never be 100% safe unless you live in a armour plated bubble. How fun is that. Life is the greatest gift, it's for us to enjoy but sadly it short. They're people who want us to be frightened into a bubble because of their beliefs. Defying their beliefs and living our lives how "we" want to defeats these groups of people.

    Enjoy France 2016 my great friend.

    1. Bien sur! Exactly . . . there is an old fellow, who lives well in both lifestyle and health - rides his bike everywhere at 82 . . . who simply said after tasting a new vintage of Bordeaux, I do not have time to wait for it to mature, so I must enjoy it now. It originally sounded pessimistic but in in reality, it seems like a good philosophy to follow with all things in life. My only additional comment is "just don't cross the stupid line".


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