As our departure date draws near with still so many details to deal with – visas, hotel rooms, schedules coordinated and some additional vaccinations – I’d have to say that both feelings of being “excited” and “scared” run through my mind. Certainly excited when I think about the incredible adventure we’ll be on – and that’s the feeling I have most of my waking hours. And then of course there’s the part of me that’s “scared” and this usually comes to me in the dark of night or just before dawn. Fleeting thoughts of mild panic about all the things I still have to do or those “what if….” moments when I think about all the things that could go wrong in such an undertaking.
And then there are the moments when I ask myself if I’m crazy to embark on such a journey, putting my daughter and myself in vulnerable places – both literally and figuratively speaking. I question my judgment and ask myself – am I too stupid to know better? The answer to that question is easy – no I’m not too stupid to know better – because I know full well what I’m getting into after a lifetime of travel and adventure. But I also have the experience and know enough to prepare as best as one can.
So when I wake up in the middle of the night and feel fear – I remember what my father used to ask me – “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” And most of the time I really can’t come up with any answers that are too terrifying – other than death – but let’s face it, that can happen anywhere, anytime. I actually think that when one confronts their fears and pushes them forward but with open eyes and preparation – the possibilities of things that can go wrong diminish.
Being prepared, but also flexible is the key. No doubt things won’t go perfectly according to plan – some flights may be delayed or canceled and some nights will be spent in bad hotels or maybe even in an airport because of missed connections – but if that’s the worst that could happen – it won’t be so bad.
What I try to focus on is the purpose of this journey or purposes. One of course is to tell the stories of people who are doing incredible things to make the world a better place. People who are helping others through their selfless actions – people who are helping others who face far worse travails on a daily basis than any temporary discomfort that I may encounter. That puts things into perspective. It also centers me on what really matters.
In the scheme of things we all have one chance to go around in life – just one. Every time I have ever confronted my fears and pushed myself into the unknown – great rewards have come my way. Not always financial rewards but rewards that have fulfilled my life in countless ways. Sometimes the reward is just that in my own small way, I too am making a difference by showing my friends life’s possibilities.