While we were away on holidays in Europe, five major events took place, none of which directly impacted us in a negative way. There were floods, wildfires, hurricanes, mass shootings, and serious rumblings of independence, all very close to where we were but none so violent that they threatened our lives to the point of forcing us home. It wasn’t a case of hiding out in some quiet part of Portugal, Spain, Morocco, or Ireland. Where we went were signs of a bustling civilization intent on living regardless of the political or geographical dangerous convulsions of the moment a few hundred miles away in another vicinity. With only limited WiFi connection, we knew there were extensive bushfires in central Portugal, a major independence referendum in Catalonia, a hurricane named Ophelia barreling down on Ireland, and the May government in Britain desperately clinging to power as it searches for a Brexit solution. Oh, there was a brief mention or two about Trump and the NAFTA talks, but nothing so terrible or earthshaking that we were distracted from incredible natural beauty like that found along the Donegal or Algarve coastlines, or cultural oddities found in North Africa and Gibraltar, or archaeological ruins of an ancient Roman fishing village in southern Andulucia. Along the way, we ate, read, relaxed, nosed around, swam, and walked, but at no time did we feel the world teetering on the brink, even with ISIS still fighting to the bitter end, lone-wolf madmen spreading their destructive wickedness, and super waves causing 100 year tidal surges. No, we were travelling like the adventurers of old, seeking to discover, enjoy and return to tell about the thrills and spills encountered along the way. We were most favored to be kept in good health but that didn’t mean we didn’t have our scares like drinking local water, getting bitten by an insect, having close calls on the roads, getting lost in the middle of the night, and some perp hacking into our Paypal account. Even with these momentary setbacks, we didn’t miss a beat as we pursued the real reason for the trip: to enter into another world as privileged observers and partakers of all things new, beautiful, ugly, ordinary and curious. Coming home yesterday, on a twenty hour journey across two continents reminds us that holidays, while exhausting, are times to break with the same old, media-narrative that has the world blowing apart before our very eyes. To avoid that trap, either travel by yourself or with a loved one, don’t take a mobile and, if you have to, stay in touch with the news by reading a credible paper like the Guardian once or twice week.