Pushing Past Fear and Into Experiencing


I had a friend who, on a moment's notice, would grab her passport and make a trip to Europe. She didn't know anyone there. She didn't go with someone. She just flew solo into the adventure. 

I remember thinking, "but do you know the language? The money system? How do you get around? Aren't you afraid of thieves? What if you catch a bug and have to depend on their health care? Isn't it lonely just taking photos and ordering from a menu you can't read? 

My mind was already racing with fear. I wanted to say, "are you crazy?" 

We all have been in that situation where someone we know is doing something we've never done, maybe they lost a lot of weight or they're dating someone who has no job, or possibly they go camping by themselves. 

I used to think these people were irresponsible, but then I began to really look at it. They were simply unchallenged. Where many of us put up roadblocks to dreams and spontaneous activities, others need them regularly to reset their spirit. 

Look at the YouTube influencers who have drawn us into their alternative lifestyles, from tiny living to living nomadically, off-grid, homesteading, being an ex-pat. These channels are popular because they are doing what we wouldn't dare to attempt. 

In the midst of all I'm getting done right now in my career and settling into a new home, I find myself having a wanderlust. 

I have never done a vacation alone or driven a long distance alone (more than 90 mins) from home. I've never been to another country. I've never ever gone and sat at a bar all by myself. 

One of my dear friends is picking up work in Italy for a few weeks this summer. I think to myself, "you're just going to hop a plane to a place you've never been to work with people you've never known and just walk away from your daily life fo 3 weeks?" 

I know in some arenas of my life I am totally fearless, but in others I've been a nerdy hermit too long. I ache to just hit the road and drive cross country - inspired by movies such as "Wild" and "Under the Tuscan Sun."

This concept I am tucking under my wing until the hot time of year here. Then, I am very seriously considering this trek. A long trek, stopping in states along the way to meet people I have long known online. Going to get a hug from state to state. 

The routine - it's safe, you can do it sleep walking, it's predictable, but at some point if you don't have a novel experience, you really do shut down  your adaptive skills, your knowledge, your self-confidence. 

Some ideas for pushing past fear and into having experiences - 

Get in the car and drive with no map, no plans, just let your curiosity tell you whether to go right, left, straight.

Take surface streets home from work in neighborhoods you don't know.

Find a zip line and ride it. 

Take a road trip alone.

Ask someone out spontaneously when normally you would be shy.

Go to karaoke night and sing.

Rent a boat for the day (or week). 

Learn a language.

Get a passport.

Rent an RV and stay in RV camps.

Cut your hair short.

Publish a manuscript you were sitting on for years.

Enter a contest. 

Rent a booth at an art show.

Go to dinner alone.

Try an experience vacation like an ecotourism package, a dude ranch, a spa. 

Whatever you do to push past the mundane and into the unknown, you are growing in spirit, confidence, and experience.