As I complete the second round of Goodbyes (both in London where I currently am and Portugal where I just left after said goodbye to my family and friends) I can’t help but notice that once again, there’s a question that keeps being repeated in my ear over and over and over again: “Aren’t you afraid???”
This might sound strange somehow, but honestly, I am not afraid. I am not scared whatsoever of what most people think it’s a reason to be scared of.
As natural disasters keep happening (my heart is with all the friends and families of the people of Nepal and the victims of the disaster); airplanes keep crashing (recently Germanwings but will never forget both disasters from Malaysia Airlines and also Air Asia – coincidently the 2 companies I flew the most in the last 2 years), and news keep reporting on wars, extreme violence and demonstrations plus the fact I am now starting this second leg of my Round The World Tour in the Middle East, it’s only natural you are all worried for me, and I do appreciate it, I truly do.
But do not worry please! I am not scared at all, and not even slightly afraid. At least not for the reasons you think I should be.
First of all, I am sorry to remind you this but, we all are going to die =) Fact. Period.
If I have to die while I am seeing the world, then let it be. And honestly speaking, I would rather die doing something that I love and makes me happy than on some car accident back home. I’m not religious but spiritual, and believe my destiny has been written, so whatever has to happen, it will and I am ok with it. So no, I am not scared of plane crashes or the Mother Nature… maybe slightly scared of being eaten by a shark but honestly, what are the chances?
Regarding being scared of people, well, the world is not as dangerous as the Media portrays it.
10 years ago I made the decision to stop watching TV. That was one of the best things I have ever done. More recently, roughly 4/5 years ago I also decided to ditch the mainstream news. There’s enough negativity around and I do not need to be reminded of how cruel the world is. I don’t believe in most things I hear or read in the news.. there’s so much brainwashing going behind the scenes… Crime and violence statistics are often misleading. For example: I have visited NYC several times and for extended periods. The city has some of the highest crime rates in the world. Never had an issue. Funny is that no one has ever “warned” me about NY dangers…. but as soon as I mentioned that I was going to Iran…. OH MY GEE. End of the world. But you know what? I am not worried and you shouldn’t be either. 🙂
“Do not speak to strangers, and certainly do not accept presents from strangers” – how many times did your mum and dad tell you this? I know… same here. But as a solo traveler and extremely social person, I do need interaction, and loads of it. So wherever I go, it’s likely that I will make friends. With the locals, with the expats, other travellers, etc. And guess what? They all start off as a “stranger”.
Of course it is important to be careful but the world is not necessarily a dangerous and evil place and you shouldn’t be suspicions of everyone that tries to hold a conversion with you.
In fact, I have met so many wonderful people during my trips, people that I hold dearly to my heart and that most likely will be friends as long as I live, have started as strangers… Random people that I asked some question on the street such as asking for directions or how to take the right train, to people that would approach me asking me if I would need any help, that so often would turn into countless dinners, presents to even free accommodation that was been offered to me all over the world by the so called strangers…
So, I am sorry mum but I didn’t obey you, and I am glad I didn’t as I now have a better understanding of the world, know many new cultures in a deeper way and have a larger circle of friends abroad as I met the most wonderful people because I trusted my instincts.
Now thats a important one, I don’t do anything while I am on the road that I wouldn’t do at home. I don’t get into dodgy streets, I usually tell someone where I am going – doing a “check in” on Facebook is always a good thing and your mum will be pleased; If I am meeting people and know where I am going I might mention it to a friend or two; I don’t drink and neither do drugs – I find it very important to be sober and I am always aware of what surrounds me; and mostly, I seriously trust my gut feeling. I think I developed a sort of a sixth sense while I am on the road and even tho I am mostly relaxed, sometimes I feel certain vibes and I become an eagle with all my senses working 100%.
Another thing that helps a lot, is understanding the places where you are going to.
I always do my homework and google the destinations I am going to and speak with friends or other travellers that have visited so I know what I should and shouldn’t do. For example, yesterday I went for a tea with a friend and her boss who is Iranian, and he gave me so much valuable information on Iran, but not only on what to do and see but also on how to behave, what to wear and he told me what I should expect.
Scams is also something I always look up… had a couple of situations in Thailand and China that as soon as the scammer started his “story” I knew exactly what he was trying to do, therefore I was prepared and avoided any trouble, by excusing and going my way.
Yes, I did get myself in situations that were not ideal and yes, I did have problems during my trips. I have been robbed as many of you might remember. But that could happen anywhere and I do admit that I have learned my lesson… and as much as trouble follows me, experience is teaching me on how to avoid certain situations.
Now theres something I must confess.
There is actually one thing that I am scared of, I am in fact terrified of it.
I am afraid of … missing out.
That’s my only genuine concern! I am worried and scared that I am not going to do everything I want and explore all the places I have dreamed of. There are so many adventures I want to live and I am scared I might not achieve that. I am in such a privileged situation and I have reached so many highs, achieved so many of my personal goals and dreams and ticked so many items of my bucket list, however I am worried that I might not be able to keep following my dreams. Rest assured that I am but not going to lose any sleep over it and just keep going, while leaving my footprints in the clouds.
Keep following your dreams and do not be scared.