On December 21st, 2017, a young man purposely drove his car through a crowd of pedestrians near the Flinders train station in Melbourne, Australia. He injured 19 people, 3 critically (1 later died), before driving into a barrier where police detained him. In a video released by thew news, you can see the attack lasts only a few seconds, but those few seconds are all it takes to turn a normal situation into tragedy. Police are calling it an act of terrorism. And a terrorist attack while traveling is the last thing you want to think about when exploring a foreign country.
Terrorist Attack While Traveling
Hayley and I read about this on the morning of the 22nd. We received an email from my mom asking if we were okay before looking up the news and realizing what had happened. We felt a pit of sickness in our stomachs, realizing what had happened and how close we were to it.
Flinders station is a popular crossroads in Melbourne and on our first day in the city, the 17th, we came out of the gate the driver ran people over at. The day before the accident, we walked through the main gate.
The number 1 is where Hayley and I walked through 24 hours before the attack. The red arrow and 2 is where the attack happened the next day. When we first arrived in Melbourne, we came out the gate very close to 2.
How Does it Feel?
When you realize what happened to other people and how close you were to it happening to you, you automatically feel sick to your stomach. Global events stop being theoretical and become personal, intimately designed with you in mind. You stop reading about news and realize you were intended to be the news. It’s surreal.
We’ve bucked up over the last week but we’re still deeply aware of the injured folks. They still suffer even through the world keeps spinning and folks around it are reading different news. You can read about the Melbourne attack on the Washington Post.
When we left on our adventure we knew we would be putting ourselves at hazard. We also knew something bad could happen to us at home, too, so that was no deterrent to leaving. What happened on the 21st was a near miss. We weren’t kidnapped, harmed, attacked, or maimed in any way. Things could have been much, much worse for us.
Keep Going & Stay Safe
Regardless, this close call shakes us awake from the safe lifestyle we regularly lead. It puts the value of life, which we sometimes take for granted, clearly in the forefront of our vision. It reminds us that life is a series of events, some of which might go askew at any moment. But for us the mission remains unchanged.
We will continue to explore and appreciate life and everything it has to offer us – understanding that a terrorist attack while traveling is a very real possibility and something we should prepare ourselves for. We’ll travel, meet folks, and drink deep from the well of life. Times like this remind us of a favorite quote from Frank Herbert, the author of Dune, “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.”