It’s almost an unspoken rule amongst Canadians that vacations are meant to take place when the weather is at its most unbearable.  

Primetime for these holidays are planned anywhere between November until February or March. 

I distinctly remember looking at my friends with a mixture of confusion and disapproval when they suggested waiting untill July to go on our trip to Mexico. 

Why on earth would we sit through this horrible winter just to escape once the sun has reappeared?  

While flights and resorts are unbelievably cheaper during the offseason, it seemed almost wrong not to schedule our vacation so we could skip out on the snow for a week in the midst of our long winter.  

With Halloween behind us, Canadians are getting ready to go on their dream vacations.  

In fact, I have already heard of multiple friends and family members who are counting down the days till they take off for Cuba.  

As much as I wish I was going in their place, I can’t help but wonder what this means for the devastated areas who were, and still are, struggling from the aftermath of hurricane Irma.  

It seems unfair that we can pick and choose with such freedom when we want to use these countries for their sun and sand.  

How convenient for North Americans that we can sit back and watch in horror as millions of lives are ruined across the globe just to turn around months later and use them as our “escape” from the snow – as though we are the ones who need to escape.   

Irma was not alone either. Soon thereafter hurricanes Maria and Harvey joined in and destroyed many islands in the Caribbean.  

Hurricane Maria hit Dominica on September 18 as a category 5 storm and left 98% of the island’s homes with significant damage. Only a couple days later Puerto Rico suffered a similar fate and lost all electricity.   

From the comfort of our living rooms, we had sympathy for these people and their struggle. But for how long did we care about this horrific event and the people it harmed? 

As media coverage died down, so did our concern and our sympathy.  

As fast as Irma snatched our attention by destroying homes, families and lives, Canadians just as quickly reverted back to the safety of our everyday problems. And we soon forgot all about the destruction of the impacted countries.   

Some might argue that we are helping said countries economy by vacationing and therefore spending money in these places.  

If we are being honest with ourselves, this is almost never the reason for our travels and It most likely was not part of the decision-making process when choosing a destination.  

I’m not saying don’t go on vacation, but at the very least recognize that there is a social obligation that comes along with the privilege of living in an area where natural disasters are never a major issue. Or there should be anyway.  

This winter, if you decide to take a trip to one of the countries affected by Irma, or any of the hurricanes that hit this past August/September, look into what you can do that might help families who were impacted.  

For example, some Red Cross and United Way organizations are calling for volunteers to help with relief efforts. You can also donate funds to charities that are aiding hurricane victims.  

Lastly, you could look into what supplies are needed in the area and bring some with you. You could have an extraordinary impact on survivors with the simplest action.   

To name a few, some of the areas that were affected by the hurricanes include Cuba, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Florida and Hispaniola.  

Do any of these places sound familiar? I am sure that most of us have visited at least one of these beautiful places before. I know I have.    

 

 

 

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