2 weeks ago I arrived home from Tunisia with sun kissed skin and so many beautiful memories. It was the kind of holiday where dreams just came true. We had loved it so much that we were in the process of looking to go back this year, because the idea of returning to Tunisia felt like going home.
I had planned to pop into the travel agents on Friday, pull off some prices and have a look at when was best to return. I had just dropped little man off at nursery when my phone beeped. It then beeped again, and again.
I glanced at the messages 'Have you heard about Tunisia!?' it read. In my rush to get Leo to nursery I hadn't heard anything at all. I pulled up Google and nervously typed 'Tunisia' into the search box, unsure what I was going to read. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to discover...
'Massacre on the beach' read one, 'Terror attack in Sousse hotel' read another...My heart sank, it just sank. I felt deflated and sick. Really sick. I wasn't resonating that I had been in the country only weeks before, because I had been in Hammamet an hour away. I wasn't thinking 'that could have been us' because it couldn't. I just found myself lost in thoughts of how and why? This was not the country I had fallen in love with, the people I had met, the beautiful white sand and clear blue waters were not the place for such evil. for such terror.
Of course the poor people staying at the Marhaba Hotel in Sousse have had a completely different experience. A nightmare that is being shared throughout the world, a nightmare that isn't going to end when they wake up. It's happened and there is no way back to Friday morning, to before they opened their eyes to a day that was going to change their lives beyond all recognition.
I have been glued to the news, read everything, watched everything and I still feel the way I did when I first heard the awful events. But through it all there is one thing that has stayed with me, and that is my experience of this beautiful country and it's amazing people, and it is for those reasons right there, that I will be going back.
You might think that I am losing my marbles to even contemplate going back now, but I will not be scared to see the world through something that 'may' or 'may not happen' and I certainly don't want Leo to grow up being scared of the world we live in. If we lived our lives like this then we quite simply wouldn't leave the house.
My head is telling me lightning doesn't strike twice, and that I was actually in more danger visiting before this atrocious act was committed. This unfortunate, completely devastating series of events could have occurred absolutely anywhere in the world, and they have done. Cast your mind back to the London Bombings, do you still frequent the tube? It was just yesterday I took Leo on multiple underground trains to get around the city. He has absolutely no idea to what happened all those years ago, and although everyone who heads down into the depths below London is fully aware to what happened, they go down anyway. They carry on moving forward, because they have to.
People won't forget what has happened in Tunisia, we won't forget the people who have lost their lives. We will remember them. But by not heading out into the world, we are letting them win, we are letting fear and terror strike just as they intended. Just like they want.
So when I do head back to Tunisia I will be thinking of the people who should still be here, of the nightmare that people are still living, of the family and friends that should have enjoyed the magical country just as I did, and traveled back home with stories of their adventures and sun kissed glow being a tell tale sign that they had been somewhere special, somewhere exotic.
It takes something devastating, an evil person, an unforgivable act for the rest of the world to see jus how kind, and heroic the people who step in to help you are. Among the news of Seifeddine Rezgui being responsible for what can only be referred to as a terror attack, everyone else rallied together. Real life heroes shielded Westerners from the mad man, they took their lives in their hands and tried to help. They carried the injured, they chased the gunman. They helped pick up the pieces, because it was just as much a shock to them as it was to us.
Their country, their home, their honor and livelihood.
This attack was the act of one man and whoever helped him, one sick man with a twisted view. It most certainly does not reflect on the people of Tunisia. What I really hope is that this is noted, that people cast their fear aside and still visit this beautiful part of the world.
Tourism is such a massive part of these peoples lives and it's relied upon, for the moment their will be repercussions due to the nature of what has happened. I just hope one thing shines through, and that is the generosity, kindness and heroism of Tunisia. The diamonds who shone when the sky went dark and tourists fell.
That is why I will return to Tunisia.