Sarah Barrell: Don’t feel pressured by screaming headlines

Travel view: Independent on Sunday, 20 February 2011

“Are you sure?” is the current question greeting news of a planned trip to the Middle East.

And by that I don’t mean Gaza or Tunis but anywhere in the Near East. I got an “are you sure?” from my husband, my sister, and my editor when I announced I was off to Syria and Lebanon. My airline was, of course, more pragmatic. BMI, which flies to some exciting, if not edgy, near-eastern and pan-Saharan spots, advised me to register online with the Foreign Office, then sent me off.

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