Its getting dark, ominous clouds loom towards the north. That’s the way I am heading. After that sun sets it won’t be so warm. My gloves are packed somewhere deep in my bag, but thankfully I had the foresight to put a pair of wool socks in my pocket. Easy access. When riding a motorcycle across a continent in sandals it’ seems effortless to wait for ideal conditions before hitting the road. Then again, it’s easy to put off just about anything until the ideal conditions arise. And so it goes… starting is the hardest part.
It’s not just me, and it’s not just you. Humans are still around because we’ve got impeccable survival instincts. We figured out that if we did certain things we wouldn’t get eaten by a tiger or freeze to death. So, by a process of elimination, we decided that there are things that work and things that don’t. And guess what? When our ancestral brothers & sisters realized that sleeping in a cave kept them warm and safe, they made a habit of doing that. When they realized the seasonal patterns of certain nuts and berries, they learned to movie with the seasons. When they found fire, their lives got even more comfortable. And so it continues into this modern time, worlds away from discovering the safety of sleeping in a cave, that we are creatures of habit striving for comfort.
We have our daily routines for almost everything and this creates a pragmatic efficiency. With such efficiency, it is easier to point out flaws in anything outside of our routine lives than it is to have faith that a new opportunity may be knocking for a damn good reason. It is fear of the unknown that is one of the toughest fears to deal with at the beginning of a new venture, but it’s unavoidable because everything in the future is unknown. Instead of dealing with this fear by minimizing it, why not take a small leap? Have the confidence that everything will go just as it is supposed to with the right preparation. Many would be surprised by the gaping canyon that sits between reality as it actually is and reality as they perceive it through a narrow social context.
This does not pertain only to traveling, but that is where my experience stems from and it is through my experience that I have found this to be undeniably true. Wandering in a foreign country is no more dangerous than walking down a street in the city or town you grew up in, and many times it is actually far more safe.
Before my first open ended trip, which happened to start with a one way flight to Bangkok, someone asked me “are you going to bring a gun? You know, for protection.”
I was speechless. I understood that this question was coming from a place of concern for my wellbeing, but it was so misplaced that I didn’t know how to answer. The obvious response was no. I don’t own a gun, it’s not legal to fly with a gun, and Thailand would not let me in the country with a gun. The deeper issue here was this man’s fear of the unknown and how he had offloaded his fears onto me. Had I not done as much research before this point, this comment could have carried a lot of weight and caused me to second guess my decision to go to Asia. It seems that each time we try to start something new there are many reasons not to. How would I have any clue about Asian cultures being so respectful and safe had I not taken the first step and decided to start wandering around to see for myself?
Our cave brothers and sisters lived in a time when they had nothing but rock huts and famines. Each generation since has been raised to strive for something “better” which in this case means being more comfortable. But where does it end? When are we satisfied? Perhaps now is the time to realize that starting something new, although difficult, is the right path to choose.