Fear Not Brave Traveller

I have come to believe and accept that travellers, expats and others of their ilk, are a brave lot. Before starting out on a journey, either temporary or permanent, they need to be prepared for unexpected situations. This is true whether we travel or not. Granted, if we spend our entire lives in the locale where we were born and raised, the vigilance is of a more subconscious or relaxed mode. For those who dare to go where they have not been before, a more conscious awareness or vigilance is needed. Truly, as travellers we need to know what we are doing and where we are going. Once there we need to recognize those situations that require us to quickly decide, what we should do or shouldn’t do in the next 10 seconds! We need to be able to hear that little voice in our head or our gut that says, “Cross the street right now and get in amongst that crowd at the cafe!”. Fear is clearly helping us make that decision. Throughout our lives travelling or no,t there are situations similiar to this where “fear” saves us.

During our recent trip to Colombia Jacqui and I were always very cognizant of where we were. Bogota is a huge, sprawling city. While riding the bus we constantly assessed the neighbourhoods we were in. Gratefully, it was daytime when we ended up being in a less than desirable neighbourhood, but at least there were three of us. We were fine.

So I was interested when this mornings email from Ted.com was a talk on the benefits of fear by novelist Karen Thompson Walker. It is less than 12 minutes in length.


I found it interesting because she describes how fear can and should be a positive in our lives. It should be respected enough to listen to.

We need to understand what fear is, and how it can be used as an asset. Travellers are cool headed people because they need to be. We need to be able to move through situations without getting thrown in jail or being set upon by thugs.

Clearly the dysfunction in our lives has to be of a very limited or positive nature.

Travelling to avoid negative or dysfunctional lives is a recipe for disaster. Travel must not be viewed as a solution or escape from a less than responsible, viable life. If that is the case, the positives of fear would be hidden by the negatives of personal issues, personal dysfunction. Those things have to be resolved first. If “we” are a couple, then we have to be excellent as a couple on our home turf before we aspire to be a couple living in a new land.

Building a new life in a new land and in a language nearly unknown to us will require all of the effort and concentration we can muster. It is not something we can succeed at on a wing or a prayer.

So now we will sit here for a year until our next adventure, our next experiment. Our next trip. Our trips are dress rehearsals for the big event, the move to the “other” Americas. This past year our travels to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Colombia have given us good lessons on the subject of travel. It was a lot of fun. There was a lot of learning that our open minds took in.

Gratefully, we can still learn while we build this year of our lives.

Tener un buen dia … have a good day!


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