I had ‘the talk’ today (at Ulan Ude), walking alone around the huge outdoor ethnological museum – a talk I have about now on all of my trips.
“We need to talk.” My subconscious finally gets a hearing in the silence.
“Here we go.”
“The museum continues down that path over there through those woods. Why won’t you go down it?”
“Well, the museum is almost closing and there is hardly anyone around.” I answer. “Plus, if I go into any of those buildings down there and something happens, noone might hear me.”
“This is going to be a really fun trip with that attitude.”
“I am a woman travelling on her own you know, I’m just not sure some things are worth the risk.”
“Guess I should be grateful you got out of bed at all….”
We walked a little further in silence.
“Do you really think you are that powerless to defend yourself? You know when the chips are down you usually come out swinging.”
“And, you used to imagine travelling with a kid. Imagine you had a little kid with you… would you say ‘No, we can’t play down that path because Mummy is scared’. Would that be how you want a child to grow up? Limited and scared?”
“Of course not.”
“Imagine how you would kick into action to defend a kid!”
“I’m still not sure it makes sense to go down that path. I mean if something did happen I would have to admit I was kind of stupid to knowingly isolate myself.”
“It could be really interesting and also an invigorating empowering walk. You might miss something you would really have wanted to see.”
There is a mental pacing up and down. Spitted accusations and pleadings fly. Rooted to the spot with the recurring existential battle. The crux of everything.
“Ok, I’ll head down the path a little and see how I feel.”
“That’s a start.”
“It really isn’t going to be much fun travelling if you are scared all the time.”
“You wonder why you get bored.”
“Haven’t you sometimes felt that life requires you to keep finding things to do or to focus on to distract yourself from the fact that you are essentially bored with life?”
“Does the great Tim Ferris (www.fourhourworkweek.com) not say that the opposite of happiness is Boredom?”
“Couldn’t have put it better myself.”
“Is it not said that if you’re not happy, you need bigger problems? (Landmark Education) Like work to solve world hunger and your petty gripes about the dirty dishes in the sink fade away?”
“I’m walking, I’m walking.”
“I mean some of your travelling women friends even do whole mountain treks on their own, honestly, without a second thought.”
“I know. I wish I could. It sounds like heaven. But is that brave or crazy? And, its not a competition.”
“You tell me.”
“I guess I’m ready to stretch myself little by little and challenge my fears. And, I’ve always believed in trusting my instincts. Things only usually go wrong when I don’t have the guts to act on them.”
“I mean, I could get killed crossing a road in NZ right, or drop dead in a desk job. What kind of life do I want to lead after all!”
“Ok, it really is starting to feel a bit spooky down here now. I’m going to turn back.” I headed for the exit.
“But, before you start up again,” I add, “I’m glad we had this talk. I get the point and I’ll push out of my comfort zone a bit more each day, especially when I know it is for something I really want to do, other than just for the fear.”
“That is where the magic happens.”
Do you relate to this, at home or on the road?
Is calculated (or uncalculated, but you know you just have to) risk the secret to a happier life? Amongst other things?
Do you have your own safety/risk philosophy?
Are you brave in some areas and not others?
One personal safety tip a travelling idol of mine suggested was – as long as I can see at least two other separate people or groups I consider myself safe. What are yours?
If you liked this, you might also like other posts in the “Travels in Life” category – see the menu bar above or try Letting Things Go, One Lone Chopstick, I found happiness on Yalu River or The Runaway Train.