New Zealanders. You could almost say we have aviation fuel in our blood. If there’s a far-flung land to fly to, you can bet there will be a bunch of Kiwis winging their way there.
We’re usually the lovable weirdos, speaking our mangled version of colonial English and roaming the streets in the early morning in search of a pub that just might be screening the big All Blacks game. So it was with some identity-angst that I realised yesterday that I don’t really want to travel anywhere any time soon.
Between Orlando, Dallas, Nice, Ankara, and the countless other atrocities that have happened across the globe over the past few months, I’m quite happy to stay right here in Aotearoa for the foreseeable future, thank you very much.
I know that I’m over-reacting. I’m being utterly ridiculous, when you consider the statistics. I’m probably more likely to die from sticking a knife into a toaster than to be caught in a mass shooting, terror attack or a coup. I’ve become a sucker for representation bias, but I don’t care. From my small corner of relative safety, the world looks like a pretty scary place right now.
As I sit here in little old New Zealand I cannot help but feel a deep and profound sadness. What is this planet? How has it come to this? What on earth will happen next? I also can’t help but be overcome with a sense of gratitude for our geographical obscurity, relatively robust political system, and our sheer good fortune that no one seems interested in targeting us.
Through my fear, however, I hold to one thing: love. With so much pain and suffering all around us, love seems more important than ever. We can be scared, but we can also choose to love. We can decide to unite, rather than cling to the emergency tribal separatism that is sweeping through right wing factions across the globe. Our fear does not have to consume our love, even if it consumes our desire to explore for a while.
In these frightening times, we can’t help our emotions, but we can choose how we react to them. Some will react in anger, searching for retribution in this never-ending circle of violence, but I would ask them: how exactly do you think we got here in the first place?