It Never Gets Easier
It never gets easier. Every single time is just as terrifying, the same stab in my gut when I realize...
I'm venturing away from my home...again! What am I doing to myself?!
But lately I've been getting better at riding out the punch to my stomach, taking a step back and reminding myself that everything is temporary, I won't be gone that long, and this is how I feel alive.
No matter how many times I prove to myself that my spirit belongs with the roads and seas, where the line between fear and thrill becomes blurry and I can feel electricity buzzing through me, the anticipation of all that life still makes my heart race.
I'm heading to Denver tomorrow, for real this time.
I knew taking the train in January felt off, and driving there in February felt even more wrong, but I chose this flight now and I'm going to let its departure time come at me ready.
I used to assume people felt confident when they knew for sure they would succeed, but now my courage is coming from a different place. I was scared of those first two scheduled trips this year, so anxious about my own doubts that I blinded myself to where bravery really comes from: hope.
I flew to Jamaica, to the gosh-darn Caribbean, stayed in a hostel, and explored a culture so different that I never would have believed it could actually exist in this world (but thankfully, it does). If I can throw myself into that, then I can throw myself into this two-week trip, and any other trip I can dream up.
Now when the butterflies hit me, I try to watch them with curiosity.
I have so many questions now, like how many opportunities have I missed out of fear? How many more experiences could I soak in if I stopped holding back? Where on earth will I go from here?
My final hours at home before a trip, I always lose sight of why I signed up for this flight or that adventure in the first place. As the eerie eye of the storm now crawls over my skin, if you asked me to tell you honestly what I'm so scared of, I would stutter like a child caught stealing bubble gum.
I think I'm just afraid of the inevitable circumstances that come with traveling. I'm worried about stepping out of my comfort zone, and about feeling bored in moments spent alone. More than anything though I'm dreading missing my family and friends, and meeting people I actually want to talk to (really, I have no idea how to relax when meeting someone).
Behind all the anxiety though, I know these temporary changes will reveal the courage hiding within me, showing me that I can venture further with my travels, my career, and everything else I set out to do.
I've always wanted to be brave enough to travel solo. This trip will allow me time to visit my distant friend, but will also give me plenty of hours to myself. I think that scares me more than anything...but an aspiring solo traveler cannot let the fear of being alone stop them.
I'm often a fan of tough love, especially toward myself, so what do I do when I want to wander the world, but I am terrified of the journey? I make myself go anyway. I prove that I am better than the voice in my head that talks me down. I am more than someone who wants to see the world, but is too afraid of the path that carries them there to actually go.
The absolute hardest part of being afraid is actually believing you can get over the fear itself.
Rereading the post I wrote before my trip to Jamaica, I know I was as worried as I am now, but I went anyway, and I will do it again and again. I will nurture the child within me without shame, steer myself away from misguided fear, and watch the terrifying unknown turn into just another amazing corner of the world I can discover and explore.