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It has been a long time coming, but we will finally be boarding an airplane back to Turkey in just three short days. Onur and I have been looking forward to this trip for two years, essentially since we boarded the return flight home in 2014 after our last trip. You can read all the posts about our last trip here.

The big difference is that this time the world is a lot more scary.

Many friends have asked (incredulously) if we are still going on this planned trip after the Istanbul Airport attack killed 45 people in June, and again in July after there was a failed coup attempt which has left the country in a state of emergency. Last time I travelled to Turkey we were just seeing the first inklings of what the terror group ISIL could do, and now they pose a very prominent threat globally. So, I know it seems like a crazy time to travel to the Middle East.

But hear me out: Truly nowhere is safe. 2015 and 2016 have fully cemented that fact as we have seen violent attacks in San Bernardino, Paris, Belgium, Orlando, as well as continual mass gun violence and hate crimes in the U.S. I personally feel much less safe than ever before.

I am not willing to let fear determine what I can or cannot do, or the rest of my life would be spent in my house and I would never be exposed to the diversity of experiences the world has to offer. In this day and age of increasingly hateful rhetoric in this country about people who are different from ourselves, isn’t it then all the more important to experience and appreciate a plurality of beliefs, cultures, and languages not your own?

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So yes, dear friends, I am choosing very intentionally to travel to Turkey at this time, in spite of heightened security and heightened fear. I am choosing to travel back to a place I fell in love with on my last trip, to reunite with loved family members, and to explore new parts of this complicated, ancient, and incredibly beautiful country.

I will be blogging during our trip, so check back here over the next few weeks.

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