Why You Should Visit Cities After Natural Disasters

You watch the news and see stories about natural disasters all the time. Right now I’m watching people I know post from Key West, talking about the destruction caused there by Hurricane Irma. Natural events happen. Hurricanes, Floods, Tornadoes. Earthquakes. Wildfires. We can’t avoid them.

One thing you need to know is the people who live in these areas often make their living by providing for the numerous tourists who flock to visit. After cleaning up and getting basic services on line, the next priority is to get the guest areas ready as quickly as possible, often even before cleaning up their own personal properties.

That’s why you need to support these places instead of putting off trips because the area might still be “recovering.”

I’ll be the first to admit we’ve been guilty of this thinking. We always wanted to visit New Orleans. It was on our radar for a while and just as we were getting ready to plan a trip, Katrina hit. For the next several years we always put off going because the area was still not back. Of course, this wasn’t the case. In the French Quarter, Cafe du Monde was back open six weeks after the hurricane. They would have been open earlier but the owners took advantage of the closure to do renovations that would otherwise be impossible on a location usually open 24 hours a day.

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Cafe du Monde opens up after Hurricane Katrina.

We’re planning to rectify this slight, as we are finally planning a trip to get to New Orleans next year. It’s been way too long of a wait for us to go.

We won’t make that mistake with one of our favorite places to visit, Key West. It truly hurts to watch these images of Hurricane Irma going through the area.

Videos and photos of damage notwithstanding, we’re planning on visiting the Florida Keys again next year. Granted, we’ll wait until the area has some time to recover; they don’t need tourists right now because they need to rebuild. And they will. And then we will be back. ASAP. Promise!!!

That being said, we’ve returned to places ravaged by Mother Nature before.

One of our favorite places to visit, New Branufels, TX, is no stranger to natural disasters by the way of flood waters. The Guadalupe and Comal rivers run right through the town and are a huge draw for tube floating (going down the river on a tube) as well as serving as the water source for many of Schlitterbahn’s tube chutes. Unfortunately, they are also prone to flooding.

The area suffered through a major flood in 2010.

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We tubed with this company the year before the flood. The building in the background is their office and it was partially underwater during the flood.

There was more flooding again in 2015. This is a picture of the kiddie pool area of Schlitterbahn.

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We didn’t let this keep us from visiting after these events and you’d never know that parts of the city and Schlitterbahn were previously underwater.

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Schlitterbahn 2017

This isn’t the only place we’ve visited after being hit by flood waters. If you’ve been reading here, you might have noticed Sharon’s unnatural love (Note from Sharon: “UNNATURAL” love?!?!?!) for South of the Border.

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That picture was taken in May 2017. However in October 2016, the area around South of the Border looked quite different.

DisasterSOTB

Just recently we visited Gatlinburg, TN and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  In November 2016, this is what you could see from the town of Gatlinburg.

A wildfire burns on a hillside after a mandatory evacuation was ordered in Gatlinburg

This year, the scene is quite different.

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You can still see sections of the forest that are burnt but it gives you a sense of the power of nature and how we need to respect and learn to live in harmony with it.

Final Thoughts

I’d totally understand that when you see pictures of utter devastation, you’d think these aren’t places you’d want to visit anytime soon. Understand that flood waters recede, hurricane debris gets cleaned up, wildfires get extinguished and places shook by earthquakes get rebuilt. The people who live in these areas are still there, working hard to welcome visitors, often putting their own needs second. I’m not saying you NEED to visit these places but if you were thinking about visiting anyway, you certainly don’t need to avoid them after they’re re-opened for business.

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