The prospect of my first solo international adventure is so exciting it’s hard not to get up and jig every time I think about it. It’s also the single most intimidating beast I’ve ever stared down the throat of – probably because I have even less street-cred than Strawberry Shortcake and tend to fly by the seat of my pants, improvising as I go. In Africa? Well, maybe a little more research will be good…
But legging it alone? Pssh. When did that ever stop me?
When I toured the east coast by myself, the only recurring daily challenge was figuring out where and how to prop the camera for self-portraits, and getting into position in time for the self-timer.
When we allow ourselves to be ruled by fear, we forsake the opportunities to learn and discover.
Many people have asked “Aren’t you scared to go by yourself?” The truth is: yes, but not enough to shackle me down. Sometimes they ask “Can’t anyone go with you?” I can’t think of anyone else prepared to leave their job and go skipping across a couple continents with me, and honestly, I wouldn’t want them to.
When I decided to go, I wasn’t in a coffee shop talking about big dreams with a friend planning a global romp together. Rather, I simply just decided it was time to make a nagging wish come true, and I want to do it alone.
I want to push myself to step outside my “bubble” and engage the people I meet, to explore at my whim, to follow my feet – wherever they take me. Travel isn’t just about seeing new places and witnessing other cultures; it’s about taking the time to actually experience them. It’s about discovery – in the physical world as well as within.
Since making the decision, I’ve had countless friends sit down and offer their warnings about what I’m about to do, warning me about rape, mugging, assault, you name it. I’ll be honest: I have considered that these are risks. But these are risks that exist where anyone goes anyway; a romp through the streets of Toronto poses these same threats.
People are more likely to be killed in a car accident or by cancer than while traveling abroad.
So does that mean I’ll sit on my couch at home, avoiding the dangers that exist outside?
If I’m going to get hit by a bus, I’d rather get hit by a bus while exploring a new continent than by crossing the street to get to the same place I go every other day of the week while living a life that is resitricted by paranoia.
Life’s too short to allow myself to be limited by fearing the unknown.
Besides which, it’s the joy and wonder of discovery that makes life so much more invigorating and worthwhile.
Of course I have a few fears about it, but that trepidation is more to do with the fact that I’ll be changing my life the second I step out of that airplane – and you know what? That’s exactly what I truly, genuinely, deep-down want. It means going alone, following my feet, and giving myself the freedom to make my biggest dream, my most ambitious adventure, and my opportunity to work with wildlife I’ve only ever seen in pictures a reality for myself.
Is that incentive enough to “brave the fears”? You bet.
So that’s exactly what I intend to do.