I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do. – Georgia O’Keefe
The picture above is from many years ago when I went on a camping trip with school. And insisted that I also join in climbing up the tree with the hooks placed into the tree. It was by no means easy, and I definitely took a lot longer than other people, but I did it. And most importantly, I did it by myself. As I refuse to let anything get in my way, even my fear of heights.
I, a black, disabled, female traveller, traipsing around the world by myself. I should be terrified, I should be perpetually scared. There are many scary things out in the world, scary people everywhere. I have zero defences, I can’t run away, I can’t fight. I really should just stay at home and “be careful” all the time.
For me, however, an even more chilling thought would be to let that stop me. At the end of the day, something will kill you, and grim reaper could come visit you while you’re at home. Not necessarily when you were climbing up a tree on a secondary school camping trip, or going up a precarious set of steps up to the top of a Cathedral. I want to see the world, I want to suck the marrow out of all that life has to give.
That is exactly what pushes me to continue travelling, I am constantly pushing myself and always have been. Both physically and mentally, and challenging all the things that I thought I’d known. I’ve learned so much on my travels and feel truly enriched as a result of it. It would have been very easy to let my disability and gender hold me back and stop me from travelling. Or doing much of anything.
You turn on the news and you hear about horrible things that happen to travellers or holidaymakers away from home. And these are people that may have been with others and not have any mobility issues. Whenever I tell people about my passion for travelling, and especially travelling by myself, a question that I get asked every single time without fail is, “Aren’t you scared?”, “Are you not afraid?”
But the funny, or not so funny, thing is this: I am scared. I am truly petrified. I have no defence. My only possible saving grace would be my crutches, and if they were to ever get taken away, that’s it, game over. That is a really scary thought. Especially when you are out of your comfort zone, outside your hometown and you may not speak or understand the local language.
There have been times during my travels where I have felt scared or not as safe as I would be in my own home. But I have learned some things from my travels and just having lived in London for so long that helps me keep safe while travelling.
Much like the late Georgia O’Keefe, I don’t want my fear to take over. I believe that the fear is very important, it keeps you alive. And tackling that head on, day after day, trip after trip keeps me sane and happy. If I were to be ‘fearless’, I would make stupid mistakes and take dumb unnecessary risks. But a risk that is always worth taking is to see what is beyond your home, push past your comfort and see what is just around that corner.
Unless, you’re in a horror movie, just run the other way and never look back!
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