In December, I spent 2 weeks in Pakistan. Now, this is not my normal location to spend part of my holidays. I like to be in front of my fireplace staring at my tree and planning the new year.
I was asked to be part of a group of broadcasters and journalists who were sent to work with TV, Radio and Print journalists in Karachi and Islamabad. And, yes, the answer to your question is, "I did have a few minutes hesitation to go to a country where the U.S. State Department has a big warning saying, 'Don't go to Pakistan!'." But, I got over it. I've been to some very unusual places in my work, and this country turned out to be better than some. In fact, the people were welcoming, the hotels were first rate, and the food was good. We traveled by van, complete with armed guard. I never felt unsafe, even when four people from our group escaped the hotel and took an Uber to the local shopping mall at 10:00 at night.
But, I digress. Our purpose was to exchange ideas and concepts with these journalists. Most were on-air or writers. I was the only person in our group from the revenue side of our business, so I especially enjoyed working with the sales teams of these stations and newspapers. Yes, advertising is alive and well in Pakistan! and, yes, "Legacy" media face the same challenges with Digital the world over.
I was struck with the dedication these people have to their craft. Some of the reporters we met worked in the war zones that do make up part of Pakistan. We visited the Press Clubs in Karachi and Islamabad. The PC in Islamabad has a monument to the 100+ journalists who have been killed in the line of duty. Wow. How fortunate are we? We go to work each day with nothing more than a few traffic jams to worry about.
When I embark on one of these training missions, I always feel, in the end, that I learned more than I taught. I learned that people around the world wish for a better life for their children. They wish to live in peace. They wish to be able to speak their minds and to report the truth.
I doubt you'll ever put Pakistan on your list of vacation spots, especially till the State Department warnings are lifted, but I do hope you will have the opportunity to meet some Pakistani people. They are lovely, gracious and will erase many of the misconceptions we might have. I am richer for having gone.