A discussion, or rather an exchange of emails, with a close friend of mine inspired me to write a post about fear.
It seems that it’s one of the most common reasons for people to stagnate in situations they don’t like. Fear of change. Fear of new. Of taking the risk. Going out of the comfort zone. No way to come back. Fear that it will be worse than it is now. That I lose something, maybe I gain nothing, and then I will be not able to come back to what I have now.
Kapuscinski [a Polish writer] said once, that anybody fears. What makes the difference is the way people react to it.
We were also scared, I was scared. The last two weeks before our flight to Bangkok were full of fear, tension, restlessness. I wished I could be on board already, have this feelings behind me. A flight ticket is always a good option, it’s more difficult to change your mind and postpone the date (quitting the job, starting the journey, breaking up relations, choose what you want or add what needed).
What’s more, I’m still scared. We are traveling for more than 1,5 year and still sometimes I’m scared. Like recently, when we decided to spread for few days. I traveled alone quite a lot in my life. Three weeks in Indonesia last year, a lot of trips to mountains, Camino de Santiago in Portugal and many others. Nevertheless, when I do it after a long break, I’m scared. Same thing every time we start again to hitchhike. I feel some tension every time we meet new people, although we meet new people almost every day! I’m still afraid to approach a stranger to ask for the way or other kind of help. Really. Even if it’s a kind of daily thing now. In this case we share tasks with Andrea, it’s usually him to start conversation with people. You can say I should work on myself, with time my fear will disappear. That’s true. When I have no other choice, I just ask. But sometimes I think that if you can share some tasks – why not? You don’t know how to do something? Join forces with somebody who knows. In our case it’s working perfectly. Although from time to time I travel alone to remind myself that I can do it.
Of course with every experience of going out of comfort zone it gets easier and easier. But it doesn’t mean that fear disappears completely or that it was never there. Of course I was scared when I made the decision of quitting my good job and start traveling around the world. But you know what I’m more scared about? I’m scared of living out of habit, a life which doesn’t make much sense anymore, but I live it just because it was always so or somebody told me I should live that way. I’m afraid of every wasted day, every wasted minute, every dream planned for “one day”. Because “one day” may never come. Life is happening now, here, not one day, in future, when this or that comes true. For me it was more risky to keep the life I had when I made the decision of quitting everything. It was a good, cozy situation, and those are the most dangerous. In a way it’s easier to quit a bad job and try something new. It’s much more challenging to quit the good one, a strong network, comfortable lifestyle, which a lot of people in fact could envy and, if you think about it, there is nothing to complain about. So what do you want? Everything is as it should be. It’s not. Doesn’t matter how good your situation seems to be, it’s important what YOU feel about it. Honestly. For me, I felt that something is dying inside me every day. That something is screaming and knows exactly what I should do. But it’s so easy to silence this voice, ignore it, cover it with the daily rush. So much so just before making the crucial decision or putting it into action, when your rational mind sees thousands of reasons why it’s too risky, it’s not time yet, think more. Sometimes thinking kills this part of us which knows better. Not even mentioning other people’s opinion. Meditate. Go to the forest, to mountains, to sea. Dance. Lose yourself in a sunset. Observe. Feel. Don’t think for a while. Be with yourself. You know it. Inside yourself you know exactly what you should do.
Whatever decision you make from that point on, it’s a good decision. Write to yourself from that moment, to yourself in doubt. Write why it’s important. Remind yourself what it is about. Nobody supports you better than yourself. Because you are the one who knows.