Fears before journey
(Listen to music while reading blog post.)
I don’t really know why I’ve chosen this kizomba version of the soundtrack ‘Intouchables’ to accompany my post, somehow it is always the music that founds the proper post for itself. This movie is probably my all-time favourite because of its great humour, the human factor, because of the duality of lightness and deep meaning, the flow, not to mention the music. It might found me now to make me brave and capable of writing a blog post about fears.
In the last couple of days, having read the story of my life some people told me how brave they thought I was. Which is heart-warming but quite surprising, because I am really like a little coward bunny. My only luck is that the force pushing me towards the unknown and the desire to explore are much more bigger than my fears.
There must be a truckload of people who don’t need to changes their pants before the big journeys, but I am not one of them therefore from time to time I need to keep repeating my mantra: fearing the unknown is not good for the health. If I saw myself from outside that time, I’d see a little bunny looking back and forth frightened trying to find out what will happen, to plan the future, to solve all the problems that don’t really exist, to analyze all the possible outcome of all the possible act.
Sometimes it’s pretty hard to give the control away and simply believe that everything will be fine. But when you managed to do this, that is an amazingly relieving feeling. It’s a kind of fatalism that makes me think that if you can resign yourself to the fact that you can’t control everything and some things just happen, that insecurity and unknown are best friends, that you can not predict the future and can not solve it in advance, that you only can plan until a certain point and not any further and that half of your plans end up in the trash bin because life takes over. If you can accept this you are halfway there in winning the battle against your fears.
A while ago a girl from university made an interview with me about the backpackers’ motivations and the effects of the journeys, because she writes her thesis on this topic (how I envy her! I wrote mine on product marketing…) We were talking about the fears as well, and this made me think a little further about fears and in fact why it is all totally pointless.
No1. totally pointless fear: ‘OMG, I’ll be lost, I’ll get stuck in the middle of nowhere and vultures will eat up my liver.’ This thought can be frightening even if you go to your neighbouring country where there are no sparrows, not to mention vultures. If I am not mistaken, this is one of the most common fears of human nature when going to an unknown destination, but if we count how many of our friends ended up eaten by vultures, we might relax a little.
No2. co-called curare fear: ‘At the moment I leave home, something awful must happen to me, I’ll be robbed, I’ll be ill or injured, maybe in this particular order. Anyway, I’ll be trapped.’ Well, this can happen. But this can happen in your country as well, with the same probability, unless you go to a war zone. As my beloved friend, Beu would say who worked in a casino for a while and while studying probability analysis she found the alfa and omega of chances: ‘Meli, 50 percent.’ Exactly. It happens, or it doesn’t happen.
And sometimes it happens, because it is in the cards. When I was seventeen thousand kilometers far from every known place and people in Indonesia, I got some exotic tropical fever and I was wondering for a week if I get well or not. The only thing I was longing for was a gentle touch on my forehead and hearing the biggest cliché said in a convincing tone, that everything will be fine. But there was no one there with me to say this. And then this was over as well and I had to admit, this is also part of the story. (And sorry, Mum, this is a deleted scene of my Indonesian movie. Don’t forget please, post factum it doesn’t make sense to worry!)
No3. the economy fear: ‘I’ll be running out of my money and oh-what-will-happen-then?’ I once read about the traveller girl who somewhere during her journeys lost her only credit card and after the first shock and until the relieving money transfer came from home, she started to give massage for accommodation and singing for food. Fortunate enough to be capable of doing these, but to be honest, all of us can do something like this (and no, I am not speaking about the ‘ancient’ profession now). She even enjoyed this much, because this is how she was immediately connected with the locals and got new friends. Lesson for all of us.
No4. I-enter-your-brain-and-paralize-you fear: ‘I’ll be lonely.’ This is an evil fear, so as it can be described in one small sentence like this. And a big cheater, because it makes you believe you are alone and you are the only one to count on. Which is true for some situations, but mostly you are alone during your journeys when you want to be alone, as you are always surrounded by locals and other travellers. So this bugaboo is very easy to erase.
no5. comfort zone fear: ‘I leave my comfy home, for sure I’ll sleep with cockroaches and giant spiders in the bed, I’ll have to sit to the dining table without washing my hands and I surely be pissed of waiting for the local bus to came for hours. If it comes at all.’ Well, this is the side effect of travelling, and if we adjust our point of view, these sum up the essence of being on a journey. Everything which is different from the things well-known by us can be really radiatingly exciting, even if at first sight it seems annoying enough.
Fear factor no6.: ‘As a solo female traveller I am watched by lunatics from every bush.’ A lot of people think that we face unnecessary risk as solo female travellers, but so far nothing like this happened to me. And also true that you can be caught in your very hometown as well, you don’t have to go far for a sick satyr. You need to be careful and not take risk when your guts say it’s not ok. Yes, Mummy, I take care. Always.
…and you can continue. I think these all originate from the same root that most of us simply fear the unknown. And what can you do with this fear? Sometimes it takes less time to accept that this is normal than reading this blog post. Then you realize that worrying is completely pointless, because most of the things you are worried about never happen, and even if it happens, worrying doesn’t help at all to solve the situation. You need to admit you’d regret if you hid behind the sofa not facing your fears and this is why you miss a truckload of experiences and exploring. After you take one (two, three…) long breaths and tried to overcome your fears, erase your bugaboos and finally you take the first step, you’ll be happy you didn’t give it up.
And here comes the best part, the actual journey.