Holiday with a difference

The last couple of weeks has almost been overwhelming with the amount of news, the never ending political updates and terrorist incidents.

I follow the BBC Breaking News Twitter account, and there is always something going on somewhere in the world. The notifications around terror incidents just seem to be constant at the moment.

My family and I have just returned from holiday, we visited the Canary Islands and enjoyed a well-earned rest and quality time with the children.

However, for the first time my daughter asked me: “Are we going somewhere safe? Are we flying over terrorists that may shoot at our plane?” My daughter is a teenager and I feel quite sure that other families may be having the same conversations this summer.

I am married to a former Royal Marine who has served with the security services, and our business advises people and organisations on security. So you can imagine I am already immersed in a world where this is discussed and planned. Was this causing me to have a heightened sense of awareness this year? I am sure it has had an impact. But when chatting with friends they have also revealed they are having similar thoughts and discussions.

I actually found myself (and I can honestly say this is the first time I have ever done this) looking at my surroundings in a different light as I made my journey from home to my holiday destination. Perhaps it was because my husband wasn’t going to be there for the first week, and I felt a greater sense of responsibility to my family, but I think I always have that feeling of responsibility, it was just different this year.

As I entered Gatwick airport I scanned the area, checking out where the exits were, or indeed places to hide. I was also continually looking at other people and watching for any suspicious activity. As a parent the last thing you want to do is scare your children, so again I was acutely aware of not demonstrating neurotic behaviour. I would always encourage everyone to continue going about their normal business, whilst taking advice from the relevant Government agencies when it comes to foreign travel.

When we arrived at our hotel which was situated on a beach front, I was continually vigilant throughout the holiday. Even when on the beach I was prepared. If something occurred I knew where we could run and hide, and the same could be said with the hotel and indeed if we visited very busy areas, tourist hotspots, shops and restaurants.

This is so sad!

We did not choose a holiday destination that has had a particular problem with these types of incidents, but none the less I still felt it would be careless of me not to do this just in case something happened. My own personal view is that this is not scare mongering, it is a reality of the world we live in today. I come to terms with it in my own mind as not being any different to checking out the fire exits when staying on the fifth floor of a hotel.

I suppose for me this is all about being alert, aware and prepared. If any of us are unlucky enough to be caught in an incident then we can automatically behave or react in the right way. It is also more important than ever to help our over stretched police and security services by being additional eyes and ears.

I would be interested in hearing others thoughts on this.

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