As I sit here in my prayer/writing room, the rain pours down relentlessly outside. It’s a Monday, and it definitely feels like the case of the “Monday blues.” When I get in moods like this, I find myself day dreaming. Dreaming of where in the world to go to next. Imagining myself sloshing through the muddy trails as the rain falls as it is now, but with a view of the Scottish highlands to keep me invigorated. With the rain falling on that journey, I can imagine it being something to remind you of the adventure you are on, and that you appreciate nature’s elements falling down upon you and adding to the feeling of mystery as you make your trek.
But right now, the rain outside my window is just making me feel glum. I sometimes wonder about my love for travel. I wonder why I am so obsessed with it. Why it’s always intrigued me.
When you are traveling, or even dreaming of travel, as I often do, the possibilities are endless. The mundane is gone. The mystery is real.
For me, whenever I’ve traveled, my senses are awakened. My soul is on fire. I find that I am pushing myself to do brave things. I am brave when I travel. And sometimes, I am afraid. And that’s okay. Being afraid is not something to be ashamed of. When you do that thing, though, that you are afraid of, like hiking across active volcanoes across New Zealand, and wonder if they might erupt again at any moment as you walk across its rim, then you experience a feeling that is worth every moment of fear. Empowerment.
It is empowering to look back at the 19.4 kilometers you just hiked in one day (here’s to you, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, NZ) and knowing that you pushed through the fear and moments of doubt. That even though you cried along the way, thinking there was no way you could finish the hike, but that a helicopter would have to come pick you up, your willpower and determination still got you through. That strength that you mustered from deep within, willed you to walk another step, and another, and another.
You feel empowered when you arrive at the car park, the end of that day long hike, and you plop down, your physical and mental energy completely spent. And you want to cry, tears of happiness and of feeling so proud of yourself, because, “you did it.”
It’s overcoming those little moments of fear along every journey, that make you truly stronger. That make you believe in yourself. It’s stepping on that plane to go on your first solo journey. It’s looking up at the mountain in front of you, feeling overwhelmed and afraid, yet still taking that first step. For there is a bravery within you that you often won’t realize is there until you DO Travel. When you find that bravery, you find your strength.
Travel. It wakes you up. It lights the fires of courage within you.
If you are afraid to travel, you are not alone. It’s okay to feel afraid, but what will we do with that fear? Will we allow it to make us stay in our homes, never following our dreams or venturing out our front door? Or, will it be a catalyst? A catalyst to propel us into action. To book that plane ticket instead of pushing the “back” button on our screen. To step on that plane, even though you have a fear of flying. To get in that kayak and paddle across the harbor, even though you’ve never stepped foot in a kayak. To walk through the streets of a city where the language is foreign and you were afraid to leave the comfort of your hotel, but you walked down that long hallway and out into the street even though you wanted to turn back. To do all of these things and more. To do them DESPITE your fear.
There are many reasons why I travel. Because it makes the future look exciting and bright, despite days like today, when the rainy weather is just a forecast, instead of an adventure in the Scottish highlands. Because just the thought of it lights my soul on fire. And because it always has a way of making me feel brave.
Be brave. Go be alive. Go travel.