The internet can be a great source of information but sometimes also of misinformation. A case in point is that many travelers thinking about spending time in some countries are faced with lots of warnings and exaggerations about safety and other negative issues. While it is of course mandatory to be well-informed and definitely not be naive, one needs to take things into context.
I have visited Zimbabwe twice and most of the people who I told about this thought I was completely crazy. Yet, it is the friendliest country I have ever visited. Same goes for many other places I have visited. I don’t want to imply that whatever negative things that are reported are untrue – bad things do happen, but these bad things do not happen everywhere, all the time and to everyone. How many muggings, rapes, car accidents and murders have you had in your city? Just because the media or some people make a fuss about it doesn’t mean nobody should visit or live there. Furthermore it is always the case that bad things usually get a lot more publicity than good things so it is only normal for things to be blown out of proportion – sensationalism gathers more attention. Ironically, one of the safest countries I supposedly visited was the only one where I got robbed, so go figure.
Many problems that tourists encounter are caused by people letting their guard down or just being plain stupid. Some other problems are caused by people not familiarizing themselves with some security precautions that might be wise in some areas, which you do not normally need to consider at home. And then at the end of the day rotten luck can happen to anyone, anywhere even in the comfort zone of your home.
What I have learned? Not to be put off easily by a lot of horror stories and warnings, and not to make generalizations. Look out for all sorts of advice, from social as well as conventional media but put it in context and take some of it with a pinch of salt.