As I prepare for my departure tomorrow morning, I’m overwhelmed with emotions. I’m excited for all that I will discover and see, and for all the people I will meet. I’m anxious over all the unknowns. I’m afraid of all that could go wrong. I’m incredibly happy to be seeing some of my favorite places and people again. I’m eager to do something new. I’m sad to be leaving the people I love at home. I’m anticipating the zen of a long drive with my music. I’m worried I might forget things. I’m obsessing over every little detail.
I’ve learned from past travels that fear and negativity is the biggest hurdle. It’s those two things that will cripple me and ruin what should be an amazing experience. There’s always something to be afraid of, and the fear of what could happen is a useful tool. It helps you prepare and make sensible choices.
Negativity serves no purpose. It’s a little like telling your sister you hold out no hope for her marriage…on her wedding day. Sure, the negativity is there, but letting it out only results in making life harder.
On my first solo trip, it took me days to let go of the negativity. I was lonely, and instead of accepting that and learning to enjoy being on my own or meeting new people, I dwelled on it.
Later I obsessed about running into bears when hiking. I skipped quite a few trails because I was scared of bears, rather than looking for solutions. I could’ve joined hiking groups, or found trails that were relatively bear-free, or gone on popular trails where there’d be lots of other hikers. Lesson learned- don’t dwell on the negativity, deal with it.
In day-to-day life I think a lot of people are used to living with negativity. It surrounds them. It’s on tv, its in the workplace. We’re conditioned to fear the unknown, whether it be people, places or experiences. It’s hard to break past that if you’re not purposefully working your way through it.
I’ve worked hard to break free of the suffocating hold that fear and negativity had on me. I spent too many years being afraid to leave my house, let alone my time zone. I still have to work through it, whether its my own or coming from those around me. Out on the road, on the trail, I break free from all that and I’m able to really breathe.
And, right now, that’s the feeling I feel the most…anticipating the freedom of the road.