Does travel conquer fear? What an interesting sentiment.
If you’ve followed me for a bit (or have talked to me), you’ll know that my blog’s goal is to be relatable, realistic….and funny. I think I have a solid handle on the funny part (okay, that’s debatable), so I’d like to focus more on being completely real and open.
Fear can come in many forms:
Whether you’re outright terrified, as in hell to the N-O am I ever doing that!, or a mild uneasy feeling when you think you have a bug crawling on you (but it’s just your hair, phew, what a relief).
People have often asked me, “but aren’t you afraid?” And sometimes, I feel that’s a difficult question to answer. I’m afraid of many things. I’m afraid of falling. I’m definitely “hell to the N-O” afraid of spiders. Even a small one that’s far away. I’ll scream bloody murder if there’s one dangling in front of my face. I’m afraid of horror/gory movies. No joke, it’s to the point where I’ll cry, not be able to walk myself out to the car (if at night), and have nightmares Even if I watch it during broad daylight and watch cartoons afterwards. NO WAY.
I’m afraid of being kidnapped and left for dead in the middle of the woods. I’m afraid of my family dying before me at an early age. I’m afraid of what could possibly be around the corner in the dead of night (even if there’s nothing there..I’m scared). I’m mildly afraid of marriage, because what if it ends in heartbreak, misery, anger, spite…all of the above?
I’m VERY afraid of the unknown, my future, and not knowing what’s going to happen next. I can be spontaneous, but believe me, it’s a calculated level of spontaneity. But… what is living if I let these fears control me?
If you’ve read my about section, or know a little of what I’ve done in the past. I love a good adrenaline rush, and I went skydiving at the age of 18. “But you’re afraid of falling!? Makes no sense.” The particular adrenaline-inducing activities that I choose, in my mind, have that calculated level of spontaneity and risk to them. For instance, I went tandem skydiving. A.K.A I was strapped to some guy’s chest. Some guy who does this for a living. A professional with YEARS worth of knowledge. But if I let my fear control me, I never would’ve experience what I consider one of the best moments of my life. Why would I let my fear of falling keep me from living my life?
I believe the same thing goes for traveling. If you simply don’t enjoy traveling (something I may never understand..), that’s one completely unrelated aspect. BUT. If you don’t travel because of fear, think of all the beauty you’re preventing yourself from seeing, and the opportunities you’re holding yourself back from experiencing.
I’m not saying I’m better than anyone because I do have my own travel-related fears. (Note: fear of visiting a dangerous place, similar to a war zone is not what I’m going to discuss. Politics/war is a topic that I genuinely don’t feel qualified to discuss.)
Let me be transparent for you: The idea of visiting a majority of African countries gives me a general feeling of uneasiness. Some countries scare me a little more than others. The Amazonian jungle is another destination that though I’d LOVE to experience, and I love reading about the interesting creatures….there are still many more creatures in the Amazon that downright scare me. Nonetheless, if an opportunity presents itself to volunteer in an African country, or to go with a group to tour the Amazon and cities nearby, you better believe I’m going make a hard effort to put my big girl panties on, and research these destinations. The bugs and creatures in Australia that I’ve seen in videos floating around Facebook downright give me the heebie jeebies, and I’m 100% positive I’d cry if I saw a spider the size of a cat. Is that going to stop me from wanting (and eventually going) to visit Australia and see that beautiful country? NO. Though I wouldn’t want to meet a cat-sized spider face to face, the general idea makes my nerdy self think, “How COOL is it that we live on a planet with so many diverse and interesting creatures?”
I have an absolute fear of going to new places by myself. I’m easily lost, and when I’m lost, I get frustrated and I panic. I don’t do well under pressure and I’m the WORST problem-solver in a situation like that. Nevertheless, I absolutely adore the idea of solo-travel, and it’s a MUST on my list. I think there is so much I can learn by visiting a place by myself. I may not be ready for it at the age of 23, and I may not do my first “solo-travel” experience outside of the country, but I’ll be damned if I let this fear keep me from such an awesome experience. I believe the more you get comfortable with something that pushes the boundary of your fears, the less scary a situation will be.
Does travel conquer fear? In a sense, I suppose it does. What I believe truly defeats our fears…. Knowledge. Travel does have its hand in the process, as traveling provides us opportunities to conquer our fears and enhance our problem solving skills.
How do you choose to conquer your fears? Does traveling help you in any way?