EXPEDITIONIST Diaries: Channeling Your Fear of the Unknown into an Exhilarating Adventure
In the past, whenever anyone has asked me what I'm most passionate about, I would always immediately say travel, and then go on a lengthy and enthusiastic rant about all the places I want to see, the people I want to meet, the different types of cuisine I want to taste, and so on and so on. What would immediately follow these rants--when people say, "That's amazing! When do you leave? How are you going to do it?"--is (or at least has been) a series of "Oh, I don't know yet" or "Oh, I haven't quite worked out the details yet" followed by a slight change in subject.
To avoid them pressing the issue of how I would manage such a large trip, I would usually ask where they've been and if they have any recommendations on places to go, partly because I'm a sponge for information and any advice I can get my hands on, but mostly so I could divert from being in the spotlight before they've figured out that my "plan" up until this point has been only a dream. Something I wished desperately would happen but was terrified to actually go out and do.
This past September, I finally made the decision to start planning my big dream adventure. A multi-year long global tour around the world. There were a number of huge, life-altering events that have occurred in my life this year, and in the short span of 3 weeks, it seemed as though everything in the universe was telling me it was time to go.
Before I began planning, my dream trip consisted of a random list of countries, cities, and landmarks scattered all across the globe with no real pattern. I would jot down a new place on my ever-growing bucket list every time a beautiful photo of a white sand beach or a breathtaking mountain view would pop up in my Instagram feed, which is no way to plan to actually SEE these places. Before I knew it I had collected what seemed like hundreds of photos, and still hadn't figured out where to start.
It was then I realized that my fear of actually experiencing everything I'd ever wanted was what was holding me back. I would make excuses as to why I couldn't have what I truly wanted, all of which were weak, to say the least. I had always been an advocate for living the life you want and never settling for just 'okay,' but I never seemed to take my own advice.
There was a book recommended to me called 'Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway' by Susan Jeffers, and although I had always felt like I was decisive in what I wanted and didn't need a book to tell me so, there was a quote in this book that rang true and helped snapped me out of this personal block I had been facing: 'The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.' Pretty simple right?
The more I kept reminding myself to 'just go out and do it' the less I felt nervous or scared of failing or of not being able to finish. It also helped that so many changes had happened to me at once, a blatantly obvious sign from the universe that now was the right time to go. Slowly, my determination and confidence were returning to me.
I started going through all my belongings, downsizing in preparation for my departure. I listed my apartment to sell, wanting no baggage or stress to come along with me on my travels. I focused all my energy and attention on the positive and exciting times ahead. Whenever a negative thought would try and creep into my brain, I would quash it with a stubborn one, thinking 'No! This is a good thing! This is what I want! Everything will be ok!' and that negative thought would pass.
The power of positive thinking and the stubbornness to not give up on my goals and the life I had envisioned for myself is what continues to keep me going. My advice to anyone who is feeling this way about your own lives is to channel that fear of uncertainty you feel and let it be your fuel to go after your dreams anyway. You won't regret it. As for me, I still have a lot of planning to do before I set off, but at least now I actually have a PLAN, and it couldn't feel any more exhilarating.
Featured image: Andrew Neel on Unsplash