As we pack and prep to leave for an extended trip, we do so with mixed emotions. Two weeks ago, I wrote about some of them, but they were solely inwardly focused. This weekend, they are more outwardly so. With the flames of war sparked by an invasion on the other end of Europe, I feel guilty, nervous, angry, afraid, sad and hopeful.
Guilty that we are about to set off on a long planned and twice postponed journey to visit new places and return to ones we’ve visited more than a decade ago while on the other side of the continent people are setting out on very different journeys. Journeys of fear and anxiety. Fleeing and being displaced by an armed invasion of a sovereign nation. It makes our little travel blog site feel so… trivial and… pointless.
I am nervous. Nervous that war will continue and will spread further. Nervous for the financial markets. Nervous for the price of oil, natural gas and commodities. Nervous for war-inspired inflation exacerbating already awful inflation. Nervous for more pain, anxiety and fear continuing to add to the dustpan of the beginning of this decade which we’d hoped, just a year ago with the promise of vaccines and a hopeful end to a global pandemic, would be more like the 1920s, 50s or 90s but looks increasingly more akin to the 1970s or 30s.
Angry and afraid. Angry that this is happening. Period. Afraid for the people of Ukraine and other bordering European countries that this could possibly not end in a quick, peaceful resolution but could spread and draw more countries into the fighting.
Sad. Mostly, I’m sad. Did we all really need this? Has history taught us nothing? Haven’t the last two years sucked enough? Yes, yes they have. We don’t need this, especially not now.
But though this weekend seems particularly dark, I am hopeful. The world, most of it, seems to be rallying around Ukraine. The people of Ukraine are standing up to oppression. The will of a people matter. A free press matters. Fighting disinformation matters. Democracy matters. Or it should. Even fledgling ones with flaws are better than tyranny. Although it seems like autocracy is seeping into the light more and more places out of its dark shadows and crevices these days. Certainly, democracy will prevail over the long term. We shall see if it wins this round. I sure hope so.