Who is right – the people on the ground or the reported news from those who want to sell a paper? asks Rona Cant

How often have you been faced with a situation which you believe you understand perfectly only to realise that you are totally wrong because your interpretation is made up of hearsay and assumptions and not the real facts.  In fact, you have only been given part of the story. You have trusted the source but you have not made any enquiries as to the real situation. What is right and what is hearsay and supposition?

Through the life I have lived of embarking on some very dangerous expeditions such as racing a yacht the wrong way round the world – and yes, we were meant to be going that way on the toughest yacht race in the world – trekking with bears and cougars on one of the World’s most dangerous trails and opening a ‘thought to be impossible’ dog-sled trail to the northernmost tip of Europe – I have learnt to question many issues. Prior to embarking on these expeditions, I wanted to show my children as much of the world as possible so holidays were spent driving round many countries on the continent, where we explored as much as we could. This included going through the Berlin Wall prior to it being demolished – it felt very scary at the time.  So, I have always pushed the boundaries but with a very clear mandate that we were safe but exploring new areas we had never ventured into before.

It opened our eyes, it helped us to realise that we were capable of much more than we thought we were and gave us a very different perspective on life and the world we lived in – changing from knowing our locality and friends and neighbours well to realising that there were so many more opportunities if we cared to step outside and meet new people and explore new places.

Was it scary?  Yes, at times it was very scary – being followed when you are a woman on her own with two children aged 10 and 14 and no other humans around that might be able to help made me question whether I was doing the right thing.  When I took my children to Yugoslavia to explore and learn how to sail, it came to a head when we were followed round a bazaar but we managed to get back to the hotel we were staying in without any challenge. When I told the person in charge of the sail training what had happened he said next time we wanted to go into town to let him know and he would get a couple of his staff to escort us!  Now that is service!

So why am I telling you this?  Well my father always encouraged me to explore new opportunities and to do things differently – it gave us a new perspective on life and how others lived.

This came home to me recently when I flew to the US to visit my son and his family – in fact I am writing this sitting in his lounge.  I wondered why he had emigrated to the US – the only part of America that I had visited prior to this was to participate in a conference in New York.  My son’s career took him to Texas and I had a vision of what life was like and it was not very positive especially following the recent challenge for the White House.

My son learnt to drive in the UK but he never really drove here, so it was interesting to see him drive a rather large car on the wrong side of the road! Whilst we explored the area the biggest impact on me was to hear my son discuss what life was really like over there and the opportunities that were now available to him.

We discussed the election, crime, guns and all the dreadful things we hear so often on the News.  However, he explained the reality of what life was like and just how safe it was. So, who is right – the people on the ground or the ‘reported’ news from those who want to sell a paper.  Who do we trust and why?

Rona Cant is an explorer, international speaker and author. Once an unexceptional, middle-aged single parent she became a round-the-world yachtswoman by competing in the BT Global Challenge Round the World Yacht Race (the toughest yacht race in the world ... (Read More)

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