Apparently, Lebanon has a level three travel warning from the US government (Level 3 means to reconsider traveling). The US government's travel advisory website asks travelers to reconsider going to Lebanon due to 'crime, terrorism, armed conflict, and civil unrest.'
We, as Lebanese citizens, could argue against this opinion. We could say that Lebanon is an overall safe country. The percentage of possible unfortunate events happening here is almost the same as the rest of the world and, in some cases, it's even lower.
But instead of doing that, we'll quote the words of an American citizen who, against his government's advice, came to visit Lebanon anyway. At the end of his visit, this is what he had to say, "So go ahead, you can think what you want, you can believe what you hear but, in the end, you're gonna miss out on a whole lot of the world."
Luke Korns is a YouTuber and vlogger from Wausau, Wisconsin (USA). His channel, where he mostly posts travel videos, has over 2 million subscribers. Luke has been to many places around the world, like Iraq, London, Hong Kong, etc. before deciding to pay Lebanon a visit about a month ago to meet up with old friends.
The Youtuber had first met his now Lebanese friends Michel, Samer, and Thomas on a backpacking trip across Europe. He really liked hanging out with them and promised he would visit. Two years later, he fulfilled his promise, traveling to Lebanon via Qatar.
His Lebanese friends picked him up from the airport and hosted him for the night. From then on, it was all about adventures. It's important to say here that Luke was fortunate with the Lebanese people who had come his way.
These guys really knew their destinations and made great efforts to give their American friend the best experience he could possibly have in Lebanon.
Luke and his Lebanese friends started their tour by heading to Yahshoush, a municipality in the Kessrwan district of the Mount Lebanon Governorate, which harbors one of Lebanon's hidden gems: Jannat Chouwen.
Chouwen Lake is a gorgeous landscape with amazing waterfalls and clear water surrounded by an abundance of trees. Getting into and out of there requires hiking, which makes it even more enjoyable.
Luke was caught off guard with these sights. He described the waterfalls as the most beautiful on the entire planet, and the whole experience as completely peaceful and unbelievable. He also contemplated the fact that it does need more recognition.
Next, and to his surprise, the vlogger was informed that Lebanon actually has an island: The Rabbit's Island in Tripoli, in the north of Lebanon. That's where they headed next. When the boat got them there, Luke had another life-changing experience diving and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.
After this specific adventure, Luke was compelled to say that "this beautiful country" is a place that many people fear. He also dwelled on the previous possibility of him being afraid as well and missing the opportunity to see such beauty.
The final adventure Luke Korns had on his last day in Lebanon was off-roading to the highest peak in the middle east: Qurnat as Sawda' in Jabal al-Makmel.
There, Luke got to see a spot of September snow. When they reached the highest point of the mountain, he and his friends had a sense of victory as they took pictures next to the Lebanese flag there installed.
According to Luke Korns, he was aware before he even stepped foot in Lebanon that the US government had a cautious feeling about other countries, especially countries of the Middle East. However, he knew he wasn't in danger, but he also didn't expect a Middle Eastern country to be such a paradise.
The desire to see his friends, as well as his curiosity to see the reality of Lebanon for himself, beyond all that is shown on screens, is what got him here. Through this visit, he got to crack three stereotypes about Lebanon, as per him:
"Lebanon is not just a desert" (Correction Luke: Lebanon is not a desert at all and doesn't even have a dessert!), "Lebanon has snow!" and, "People are nice here."
Luke had a lot to say about Lebanese people: "They know how to have fun, they know how to joke around and just live life." He finally said that although his Lebanese friends pretended to kidnap him, he'll always remember the times he had and he will reflect on them whenever he feels down.
To that I say, you were kidnapped, Luke! That's because when you visit Lebanon, see what it has to offer and interact with its amazing people, you are bound to be lured in and you can't help but come back.
The only problem is, you have to see for yourself; because the majority of the times media and televisions won't show you the real truth about this heavenly place we love so dearly.
Here is the video of Luke Korns for you enjoy: