A Story from 3.18.2019
It’s hard to believe that it has been 40 days since I set off on my trip. My trip that has taken me from Ireland to Portugal. From Portugal to Spain.
Sitting here in the cool sand of Tarifa, Spain, I can see Africa, my next destination directly in front of me just across the Strait of Gibraltar.
And as I sit in the sand, I can feel the wind on my back gently moving me towards my next destination, almost as if it were my compass.
Almost as if it were my guide saying, “𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑦”.
The faint sight of Morocco off in the distance, through the fog, holds for me experiences that are not yet known.
As I look out over the deep blue water, with the warm sun’s rays bouncing off it, I pause. And as I pause, I feel the sensation of a smile growing on my face.
The kind of smile that comes from an inner satisfaction and dialogue with ourselves that says..
“𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑜𝑛𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑎𝑛 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐼’𝑚 𝑠𝑜 𝑔𝑙𝑎𝑑 𝐼 𝑑𝑖𝑑 𝑖𝑡”
“𝐼’𝑚 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑔𝑒𝑡𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑑”
“𝑊ℎ𝑦 𝑑𝑖𝑑𝑛’𝑡 𝐼 𝑑𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑜𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑟?”
The smile still on my face, as if permanently tattooed there, I eagerly await what is to come when I hop on the ferry that will take me to Morocco.
The ferry that will take me to experience new customs, language, food, architecture, and situations I’ve not yet encountered, nor that I can predict.
But in this moment, none of that matters.
In this moment, I take pause to reflect upon all that I have experienced thus far, and how my own relationship with fear has evolved since departing the US.
I pause to reflect upon how my 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗳𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗻 greatly as a result of laying the foundation for it through seemingly insignificant situations.
Situations that, in the moment. induced thoughts of…
Laughing out loud at the memory of me in Porto, Portugal attempting to find my bus.
𝗜 𝗮𝘄𝗼𝗸𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗼𝘂𝘀. 𝗡𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀 𝗺𝘆 𝗯𝘂𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲…
𝐼 𝑑𝑖𝑑𝑛’𝑡 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑘 𝑃𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑢𝑔𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑒 (𝑆𝑡𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑑𝑜𝑛’𝑡)
𝐼 𝑑𝑖𝑑𝑛’𝑡 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑡𝑜 𝑛𝑎𝑣𝑖𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑏𝑢𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠
𝐼 𝑑𝑖𝑑𝑛’𝑡 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑜
In short, I had never hopped a bus in this country where few speak English. So, 𝗜 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 best I could by…
𝐴𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑛𝑒 ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑙𝑦
𝐷𝑜𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑐ℎ𝑒𝑐𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑠
𝐴𝑠𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒
𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘁𝘁𝘆 𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗽, 𝗜 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗳𝗲𝗹𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘂𝗻𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀 𝗺𝘆 𝗯𝘂𝘀.
I laugh now looking at that experience, because that was three bus trips ago, and now, my experience finding the bus when going to a new destination has forever changed.
𝑁𝑜, 𝐼 𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑑𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑘 𝑃𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑢𝑔𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑟 𝑆𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑠ℎ 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟
𝑁𝑜, 𝐼 𝑑𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑏𝑢𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘𝑠 𝑜𝑟 𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑒𝑡 𝑢𝑝
𝑁𝑜, 𝐼 𝑑𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑖𝑓 𝐼 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑙𝑤𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑚𝑦 𝑏𝑢𝑠 𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗱𝗼 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀, 𝗜 𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗻𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝘆𝗽𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗳𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗱𝗼𝗲𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁, 𝗺𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗳𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗻.
I know that…
𝐼 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝐺𝑜𝑜𝑔𝑙𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑠𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑚𝑒 ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑠𝑘 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑝 𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚
𝐼 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑝𝑖𝑐𝑘 𝑢𝑝 𝑐𝑢𝑒𝑠 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑢𝑑𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚 𝐼 𝑛𝑒𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒 𝑜𝑛
𝐼𝑓 𝐼 𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑢𝑠, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑙𝑤𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑏𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑛𝑒.
My point being, I now have references that show I can navigate the environment.
Thus, my confidence has improved greatly.
I’ll never be able to predict all that could happen, but what I know that is more important than anything, I will figure it out.
𝗜’𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱𝘆 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝘆𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗳𝗶𝗴𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝗼𝘂𝘁.
And because of that proof, I’m willing to continue putting myself in various situations that I have not encountered, because I trust in myself.
And most notably, my trust in people has continued to strengthen, as I meet more people that are willing to help, versus those that are indifferent.
Think of being a parent to a child that has just learned to walk. The first steps are not just exciting for the parents, they are just as exciting if not more so for that child.
They now have the ability to explore their environment further.
They have new tools to explore their curiosity versus just rolling around on the floor.
However, they explore and learn gradually.
If the child is exploring their home, with each new milestone of learning the home, they will seek out further, their confidence building along the way.
If they fall down and get hurt along the way, which is likely to happen, they are likely to go back to mom or dad, where they know they are safe.
But only long enough to build up their confidence, and when their curiosity gets the best of them again, they go right back out and seek further exploration. To chart the territory of their environment.
It’s easy to liken the story of my trip abroad, to that of a young child taking their first steps towards being independent, and able to learn about all that is around them.
As new territory is explored, fear is challenged, and when fear is challenged and proven to be more of a limitation versus something that is protecting us, we go further.
We say things to ourselves like…
“𝐼 𝑐𝑎𝑛’𝑡 𝑏𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑣𝑒 𝐼 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑒𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑚𝑒 𝑏𝑎𝑐𝑘”
“𝑊ℎ𝑦 𝑑𝑖𝑑 𝑖𝑡 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑚𝑒 𝑠𝑜 𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠?”
And most common… “𝐼𝑓 𝐼 𝑘𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑛𝑜𝑤”
When we go further than before, our confidence builds along the way. And for me, that is 100% the case. 𝗙𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗺𝘆 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝘂𝘀 𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗿𝗱, 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗻𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲.
That goes the same for attempting to…
Speak the local language
Ask for help
And so much more.
𝗜 𝘀𝗲𝘁 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗺𝘆 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗳𝗲𝗮𝗿.
𝑇𝑜 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑒 𝑚𝑦𝑠𝑒𝑙𝑓 𝑖𝑛 𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝐼 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑏𝑒 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑑
𝑇𝑜 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑛 ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑡𝑜 𝑛𝑎𝑣𝑖𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑒𝑛𝑣𝑖𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠
𝑇𝑜 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑣𝑒 𝑚𝑦 𝑎𝑏𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑞𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑠 𝑚𝑒 𝑣𝑠 𝑎𝑣𝑜𝑖𝑑 𝑜𝑟 𝑏𝑟𝑢𝑡𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑐𝑒 𝑚𝑦 𝑤𝑎𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ
And to better understand how people from all around the world experience and define fear.
So as I sit here in the sand…
𝑊𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑛 𝑚𝑦 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑒
𝑊𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝐴𝑓𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑎 𝑟𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑒
𝑊𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠
I know that I’m achieving more than I ever expected.
And, what I am realizing more each day, is how the joy of life continues to build inside me as I continue to do what I know is 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗱𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗺𝘆 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲.
𝑁𝑜𝑡 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑣𝑒𝑙
𝑁𝑜𝑡 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑡𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑛 𝑎 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑢𝑎𝑔𝑒
𝑁𝑜𝑡 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑟𝑖𝑑𝑒 𝑎𝑛 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑏𝑢𝑠 𝑎𝑐𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑦
And that’s cool.
But everyone does have something that would equally fill them with joy, confidence, and that personal sense of satisfaction, like this trip does for me.
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝘀, 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂?