Not very long ago traveling was considered by many to be dangerous. Today traveling is taken for granted by most, at least the fact that you will make it to your destination and back without even a spattering of misfortune. Unfortunately that is not a fact, and today, traveling is just as dangerous as it has ever been; we've just been made to feel as though it isn't.
We feel as though safe travel is guaranteed, so much so that we completely take it for granted. I have had several of those conversations with friends and coworkers where someone talks about driving on auto-pilot. Those times when one minute you're in the left lane and then you're in the right lane but you have absolutely no memory of actually changing lanes. Worse yet, you leave the office building and enter your front door; you're perfectly conscious, yet you don't really remember the drive.
I'm not talking about those that choose to travel while in a chemically altered state of mind, either. I'm talking about plain old boring every day life, every day travelers. Let's leave the chemicals out for now, that's a whole different topic.
This is actually ok. I mean, you're alert aren't you? You do check your blind spot before changing lanes, you are driving pretty well, you just don't really remember the whole experience. That's fine, this is a trip that you make every day, and you probably just had a lot going on during the day so your mind wanders and thoughts enter, and you go onto auto-pilot. Alas, there is a danger creeping in and it is much bigger than you on auto-pilot for one day.
This problem is an American problem, it is probably a European problem too, but I live here in The States so I will try to not make assumptions about other countries that I don't know about. This problem has many causes and perhaps driving on auto-pilot is a symptom, or perhaps it is a side effect, I'm not sure, either way it is an indicator of a bigger issue.
This is sort of weird to think about but I want to quickly, and at a really high level roll back to start of the USA and then run up to present. The people that decided to start this country had some problems. They had some real problems to solve. They were stressed. They had to deal with some horrible diseases, constant negotiations to stave off invasions, actual fighting to defeat invasions, and on and on. They also had real travel problems.
Travel was possibly the biggest issue with so much land to cover, hence the invention of the railroad. As time goes on, the railroads are built across the country; coupled with huge advances in medicine and engineering just about all of our problems are solved. We get refrigerators! Could you imagine a life without ice on demand? I'm talking about all of the inventions, down to the screen, made small enough to keep mosquitoes out and let fresh air in, staving off disease for many people.
Roll forward to today. As life gets easier and easier, we grow more and more complacent. Take that complacency and apply it to an entire country of people. That scares me. How complacent do you have to be to trample a man to death so you can spend some money that you don't have? Back up.
Google defines complacency as: A feeling of contented self-satisfaction, especially when unaware of impending trouble.
Unaware. We are so absolutely satisfied that we become unaware of extenuating circumstances. Those situations are allowed to develop and grow into terrible events. Don't let that happen to you, don't let it happen to our country; wake up with me, and take back control.
We recently acquired two female German Shorthair Pointers, hunting dogs. Before the dogs we were waking up around 9am, stumbling into work half awake, and then ambitiously awaiting some show on television at night, so we could sit and watch before flopping into bed. After the dogs, we get up at 7am, we are alert, we take them for a walk. We watch out for danger in order to keep them safe. They constantly wake us up. They have such a high level of alertness, we are forced to try to keep up.
However you do it, please take control of your life. Be an alert and mindful traveler.