Fear and Wild Abandon

Packing up your life and leaving behind all that is familiar is a daunting experience, but it’s one that I would wholeheartedly prescribe. When I left Heathrow airport with nothing but a backpack to my name and an adventure ahead, I was sure of who I was. After all I never embarked on this journey to find myself. But what I wasn’t aware of was that there were parts to me that I was yet to discover. Parts of me I never knew existed when I boarded that plane, parts that I now know could only ever be found on the road. Parts conducive to fear and wild abandon. Here’s what I learnt along the way…

The world is in our hands…

Mark Twain said “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” I never knew how right he was until I stepped away from my little corner. Opening your mind to a bigger world than the one you inhabit will allow you to relate in a far greater way. It will open your eyes to the great beauty this world has afforded us. When you travel to other countries and watch the sunset over foreign seas, swim in magnificent waterfalls that spill off vertical drops, and walk amongst endangered animals you realize that this world is full of more splendor than you are ever capable of seeing in one lifetime. But, you’ll have this intense passion to try anyway. Owing to a deeper sense of obligation to our planet you’ll seek to preserve such a place and to share it. You’ve seen it, you’ve been there, touched it and tasted it and you now understand that it’s a world worth saving.


People matter, things don’t…

Before travelling I was so content in my own world that I would rarely make time for other peoples. I had my circle of friends and everything I needed and I made little effort to expand that. But what I have come to realise it that my life has been enriched by developing friendships with people who aren’t like me. Traveling his taught me to embrace experiences and relationships that were outside my comfort zone. Because the people I met taught me something and whether I will keep in touch with them all I do not know. But what I am sure of is that people should be treasured. Not objects or money or even our careers, but real people. Because that’s what this world is all about – us.


Just jump…

Traveling is not only humbling for the soul but also empowering for the mind and the body. You will learn that you can do things, are more capable of things than you never thought possible. Each day you’re away you will learn to push yourself to a limit and over time all of those limits, no matter how small, add up and they change you. I’m not saying you will start throwing yourself out of aeroplanes or embarking on daredevil acts, but you will start looking at your fears in a different way and more often than not when faced with them you will jump into whatever lays ahead and that is a good thing.


Education is more than a book…

Until you have explored Angkor Wat, climbed the steps of the Taj Mahal or walked the Killing Fields, history is just words in a text book. But once you throw yourself into these places you can’t help but have a new appreciation for history and for education. Travelling and seeing first hand the places we have only ever read about makes history come alive. No longer pictures or words in a book, these stories became tangible. You will be taught and be schooled by everything you see on this journey and that is an education that will last much longer than anything you could ever learn in a classroom. 


No time is the right time…

There is this notion that the world isn’t going anywhere and so we should get our ducks in a row before we head out to see it. Pursue our careers, set a foundation for the future, save and buy property, get married and have children. And while that might be what is important to you, make sure you are aware of what you might give up. For old age is no guarantee. All we have is the now. If you hunger for experiences beyond the daily drudgery but fear that now is not the right time, remember this; your alive and well, but time is never on our side. So screw timing or plans. Just go if you want to go, because while your waiting for some grand plan to full into place, life will have passed you by. Traveling has made me the person that I am, and I’m so grateful. I hope that I have plenty of years left with this version of myself and that I can continue on adventuring. But if I don’t, if by some cruel trick of time this is all I get, then at least I can say I did it.


I am lucky…

I have seen great beauty it’s true, but I have also seen inordinate loss and poverty. If travelling teaches you anything it’s that you have no idea how lucky you are. Until you have seen how other people are forced to live or see how little they have you can’t understand. TV and books, they don’t even scratch the surface. But one of the most outstanding traits of the people I have met is their will and their strength. These people who have nothing, who have lost everything, they smile. They refuse to give up and they want no pity. So next time I find myself unhappy with my lot I will remember them and that I do not own all of the problems in this world and for that I am thankful. I have never known real struggle and if that isn’t reason enough to smile I’m not quite sure what is.


By Sophie Maguire


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