Today I find myself on adventures’doorstep. Within two weeks I will step over that threshold and literally fly to the other side of the world to greet adventure. I will be travelling for a few months, emerging myself in a different culture with a different mindset. Naturally, I am really looking forward to this wonderful chance. I keep on being so amazed by the fact that I am so fortunate that I can decide to leave home for a while for the luxury of travelling. Next to being happy and excited, both emotions are definitely there, I am in all honesty also scared as f*ck…
It is such a leap of faith to leave everything behind to go greet the unknown. A leap of faith in the sense that I will be in a country with dangerous animals and unknown diseases; a leap of faith in the sense that I will leave all my loved ones behind in the hope that they will all be well in the mean time; and a leap of faith because of the unknown challenges that I will inevitably face there.
The funny thing is that I distinctly remember having a conversation about this with friends of mine a while ago. We were talking about our plans for the near future and I of course mentioned my travelling plans. My friends were really excited about it, in part because (as they confided in me) it was the sort of plan that they themselves wished to do too. ‘You can do something like this too’ I (hopefully encouragingly) told them. ‘Make plans, save money and GO!’. But no, my friends felt that they couldn’t. They commented on the fact that while in theory they would love to do so, they thought that in practice it would just be too scary. ‘But’ they said, ‘we admire your courage in doing all this!’.
At the time I just thanked them for the compliment. Looking back on it now though, I wish I would have said more. If we would have that exact conversation right now, I guess I would have said something like: ‘I am scared beyond measure too you know? Every time I have travelled in the past, I was scared out of my mind. Every time I plan a new adventure, I know that I will be scared again. I know that when the date of departure nears, my nerves skyrocket and that I will have a hard time thinking straight. I am a control freak of the purest sort and travelling is one of those activities that requires you to let go. This then creates a clash within you, between what you want to do and what you actually can do. But in my case the wish for going on that adventure is so big, that I will make the plans before my fear can give it a second thought. Once the plan is made the tantrums my fear throws do not affect it anymore.’.
I probably would also add the following: ‘Plus, over the years I have learned one vital piece of information; no matter how scared I am before departure, no matter how hard I find it to let things go, the moment the airplane soars into the sky, the moment the boat leaves the dock or the moment my car leaves my street, all of that falls away. The only thing that remains is the excitement for the journey and a very healthy level of adrenaline that helps me to make safe and wise decisions on my journey.’.
If you wait until you’re ready, purely skilled and not nervous at all, you will wait your entire life. Remember that fear is not always a sign that you’re doing something wrong or dangerous. It however is always a sign that you are leaving your comfort zone. When you truly know with your mind and intellect that what you’re doing is safe for you and those around you, then you know that fear is just telling you your comfort zone is growing. And you know what that means? It means that you are learning!
So here’s to feeling nervous, to new adventures and to learning; may we all stretch out our comfort zones a bit!