12489359_467017550159078_730507840667794724_oAs the minutes counted down on December 31, I arrived in Bogotá, Colombia to start my first trip of 2016. In chatting with one of the flight attendants working my section, she asked me what three years of intensive travel have taught me. Good question. Later, I jotted down the lessons I’ve learned.

1. The world is not as scary as the media would lead you to believe.

If you were to look only to the news and movies, you might view the world as dangerous and scary; a place where terrorism is widespread, people kidnap tourists, and the likelihood of being robbed, maimed, or otherwise harmed is high. 

The reality, of course, is that the world is not that scary so long as you keep your common sense and wits about you. And don’t let heightened anti-terrorism measures (like this armored vehicle–check out the water cannons!—at a parade in Lima, Peru) deter you from visiting a country’s places, touristy and otherwise. Still the most dangerous thing you can do is drive in your hometown on Friday and Saturday night after the bars close.