It’s an easy trap to fall into: hear a news story about a travel destination, log it into your permanent memory, and then forget to ever edit or clarify that impression.
We humans are wired to find shortcuts and quick connections, so that random impression about a place heard on the news two years ago tends to stick around far longer than it should. I have been reminded of this as I’ve toured around central Chile the past week, searching in vain for signs that a huge earthquake hit the country earlier this year (February 27). To hear the tourism people tell it though, the aftershocks from that earthquake are still reverberating through the economy every day and business is still down.
Sure, a few southern port cities got damaged badly—especially from the tsunami that followed—but in Valparaíso even it’s hard to tell it was 8.8 on the Richter scale. Life is pretty much back to normal and has been for a while.
Yes, close to 500 people died, many buildings were damaged, and the wine industry lost some production from busted tanks. (There’s a sad picture to ponder: rivers of wine running out from buildings). Overall though, this is a country with a sound government and a good infrastructure, so things recovered quickly. And besides, after the airport reopened a few days later, everything was the same as ever in places like Atacama, the ski slopes, and Patagonia.
What other places are you looking at as if time stopped six months ago—or six years ago—back when you heard something bad on the news? Greece? Honduras? Thailand? Egypt? Arizona?
Reboot, then educate others.