I have noticed the closer my departure day gets and the more radio shows I do, I am asked, “What is your biggest fear, what are your scared of?” It is not that I have no fears, a little scared is a very healthy thing, but what people are looking for…is the “ahh, what if someone breaks into my tent” “what if I am attacked riding solo….” While people may worry of that for me, it is not a fear I carry.
I have been a solo traveler for years, and yes there are times where my heart has raced and I have wondered “what the hell am I doing here?” But I have never been attacked, I have only been pick-pocketed. In the developing world travel I have done-into some remote not so “safe” areas for humanitarian work-the worst thing that happened, was a complete car break-in where they stole everything-even my ink pens..and it happened back in Phoenix while I was in the northern mountains of Ecuador 30 miles from the border of Colombia!
It is not being naive to the darkness within humanity, trust me, from a girl with a psychology degree, having been on an EMT ride-along call to a disturbing child scene and an avid reader of true crime novels since my teen years, I understand that people can be quite horrible. But I don’t believe in letting the hatred that is only “possible” freeze you into a comfort zone safety net, when in all actuality you could get hit by a bus crossing the street right by your house, or a crazy person could shoot up the theater you were relaxing in…it is easy to go into a downward spiral with all the hate that many people currently carry. But imagine what you are missing if you live your life in a fear based state of mind.
If I did not venture to far-flung places I would never have knitted with a grandmother in her home in Ecuador sharing Papayas, I would never have gotten lost in Shanghai and almost in tears when I found my pride in getting back all on my own to my hostel, I would never have helped deliver turtle eggs on the beach in Mexico at midnight, I would never have enjoyed tea with the king’s council in Morocco…there are so many memories and journeys that have created a life for me filled with passion that I would never have had if I let fear rule my decisions to see the world. And solo…well that just helps make the world more open to you, many of my memories would not have occurred if I were in a group, so “solo” no it does not scare me.
But what I do fear, is not going. I am scared of living the “typical” 9 to 5 life because it is what you are “supposed” to do! I fear the monotony of routines to just get the j.o.b. done. I am scared to not live life to the fullest!
Everyone’s “life to the fullest” is different, for me, if I ask myself -“will I regret not going?” the answer is always yes, so I always must go! I don’t believe in regrets, and I do believe in trusting your gut. If I feel nervous fear (this is the good fear – fight or flight) then I walk away from situations, if I go to camp and the woods in this spot are creeping me out, then I drive on until the next great spot.
Fear is a healthy thing, it is good to be scared to a certain degree. When you let either control your life or decisions that is what should truly be feared because at that point so much of life’s beauty becomes lost. So that is a long way to say, yes there is nervous fear and I think a little is good, but no it is not “fear” in the worry for my life, just a “fear” that would accompany packing your entire life into storage, selling all your furniture and your new home being a tent in the vast expansive wilderness…well shit that is excitement not fear! Smile at your fear, give it a hug, and then punch it in the face and take on the adventure you dream of!