Travel is scary, dredging up from deep within us an exhilarating fear. Fear of the unknown, the unexplored, the not-yet- understood. And that is precisely what makes it so enticing. Terri de Roche, the force behind the Fearful Adventurer, just came out with a new book and to celebrate it she is challenging her readers to write a blog post about their own fearful adventures. Here’s but one of mine:
I am on a nearly deserted island in southern Thailand. I am standing at the edge of a mangrove forest and I am terrified. Twenty yards up the sandbar I can easily spot our beached kayaks and twenty yards ahead I can see the waiting posture of my friend and guide, who has ducked seamlessly into the wall of mangrove skirting the island. My fear fills the chasm between us, a short section of deep ocean which taunts me. My breath shortens, its return to a natural rhythm in no way aided by the snorkel valve snugly flanking my face. The waves have picked up unexpectedly and they break at the tree line. “Maybe I’ll stay here”, I shout, almost succumbing to my senseless phobia. But Tom can’t hear me. He waits.
By all accounts, this is paradise. And the opportunity to snorkel through a mangrove forest? Something I have only imagined might someday come true. Here it is — and I want to turn around, because of an irrational fear of deep water. This moment becomes one like so many others I encounter while traveling. My hand is forced and I have to face my fears head on. Conquering those fears of all shapes and sizes, and proving triumphant, is a rush that drives me on, seeking the next and the next.
African savannah? Check. Western highlands of Guatemala? Check. Learning to navigate in places where language proves impossible? Check. Learning that foreign countries are generally not the harbors of crime and fear they are portrayed as in America? Check.
Somehow, I can’t seem to stay out of the places that scare me. I don’t know what the next fear I set out to conquer will be, but I’m sure it won’t be long before it makes itself known. And if history is an indicator, it will hopefully be in paradise.
This post is part of the My Fearful Adventure series, which is celebrating the launch of Torre DeRoche’s debut book Love with a Chance of Drowning, a true adventure story about one girl’s leap into the deep end of her fears.
"Wow, what a book. Exciting. Dramatic. Honest. Torre DeRoche is an author to follow." Australian Associated Press
"… a story about conquering the fears that keep you from living your dreams." Nomadicmatt.com
"In her debut, DeRoche has penned such a beautiful, thrilling story you’ll have to remind yourself it’s not fiction." Courier Mail