With a daughter in Syria and me in Egypt what do we think about travel advice?

I live in Luxor and have done for 10 years. My life has been exactly the same over the last 10 years yet the British Embassy has colour coded Luxor from green to yellow to green and back to yellow again. Currently it is yellow, yet I don’t see any difference in my life. Guests that stay with me during the period haven’t noticed any difference except recently the sites are empty, the photos easier to take and the souvenir sellers more persistent.

My daughter recently decided to moved the Damascus Syria and marry her cousin there. Now Syria is bright, bright red. In fact it is so bright red you would think every step is fraught with danger. Before she got there our relatives, her uncles, my late husband’s brothers and nephews were telling us life was completely normal. Indeed Jeremy Bowen the BBC Middle East reporter was there during this time. He was telling his readers about people by the swimming pool at the Sheraton, posting pictures of delicious street food, normal life and shopping in the souk.

Amira flew to Beirut and then by land to Damascus. She told me the border crossing was as casual as the checkpoint on Luxor Bridge. They had no problems along the road either. Since she has been in Damascus she has posted pictures of amusing English spellings, told of normal life, visitors at the home and today was teaching in a school. In the middle of this bright, bright red map.

It seems to me these travel advice maps are just there to protect the government and big business from being sued, bear no resemblance to peoples experience and are certainly not any use to anyone who is actually looking for travel advice. Half the time the embassy hasn’t been there, indeed in Syria hardly any foreign country actually has an embassy. Yet ……the impact this travel advice has can decimate a country like my beloved Egypt.  With violence and terrorism taking place worldwide countries which are lucky enough to be labelled green, like Kenya have had far more deaths of foreign nationals. So should we plan our holidays around travel advice or just accept nowhere is safe, travel and enjoy our lives?

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