Taking a Risk and Facing Our Fears

by Gail Mooney
April 16 2010

As our departure draws near on May 25th, I find that I get asked three main questions – most men ask me “What does your husband think about you doing this?” Most women don’t really ask a question but rather state “I envy you, taking a trip like this with your daughter,” and when I told Erin these remarks she said that almost all of her friends ask her “How are you going to spend 3 months traveling with your mother?” But the most frequent question I get is “Are you afraid?”

I actually get asked that question a lot – “Are you afraid?” My first thought is to ask them “Afraid of what?”  If I think about it, that’s how I usually break it down in my mind. Afraid of the unknown? Afraid of going to foreign lands? Afraid of being away for 3 months? Afraid of missing work opportunities? Afraid of my daughter not finding a job when she returns to replace the job she’s leaving?

I guess I could answer yes – or at least a modified yes to just about all those questions – that is if I choose to focus on my fears. Of course there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t question the wisdom of what I am doing – taking a three month trip around the world working on a self funded documentary with a shoestring budget. But then I think about the some of the greatest rewards that I’ve had in my life and there wasn’t one that where there wasn’t some level of fear involved – whether conscious or sub-conscious.

My dad was a dreamer and a visionary – ahead of his time in most of his thoughts. When I was 22 years old and headed out to California to attend Brooks Institute, I was full of fears and worries even at such a young age. I was intending on driving across country from New Jersey because I knew that I would need a car when I got to California. But at the time, I owned an old VW bug that probably wouldn’t have made it to the state line. My dad told me to buy a new car that I’d be able to depend on. I replied – “How will I pay for it?” proceeded by a litany of other worries that were filling my head. He looked at me and said, “What’s the worst that could happen?” You’ll get a part time job – you’ll find a way to pay for it – don’t worry.  And he was absolutely right – I did find a way.

A few years ago when Erin was ready to depart for Santiago, Chile to study for a semester, I asked her if she was afraid. She paused and then said yes, a little. I told her that as much as it may not seem like it, many times I’ve been afraid but that the most rewarding things in my life have been also the most terrifying. I know right now she probably has a lot of her own trepidations and rightfully so.

But I hope that we’ll find strength in each other as we set out on this unknown journey, which will no doubt turn into an experience of a lifetime.

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