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On Fear and Free Spirits

Friday, February 14, 2014

My mind has been exploding with thoughts lately. This post might wind up being some jumble of crazy ramblings that may be better suited for a journal, but we'll see where it goes.

After my most recent adventure, I've gotten so many questions about why I do it, how I choose the people I stay with, how I'm not scared, and so on. I never really have a quick answer. just like with many of my life choices that people question... Like moving to TN straight out of high school, taking a greyhound bus on this roadtrip, moving to Denmark not knowing a soul or the language, hitchhiking, couchsurfing, and now this trip to Charleston with people that most might not find so safe, these things just haven't had this scary veil other people see.

I really don't know why moving to another country didn't even give me butterflies or why it seemed like nothing to stay on a stranger's couch. Then with Charleston, I just saw them as the unique, intriguing, loving, talented people they were. This characteristic of mine has especially perplexed me when I look at how far I've come... From being too shy to hug a close family friend at church or talk to my grandma's coworkers, to literally getting in cars with complete strangers. Doesn't make much sense.

A lot of people think I'm naive for a lot of the things I do, but I always disagree. I know what could happen, but I trust myself and people. I think some of it is me outweighing the possible bad with the good opportunities. Sure, I was able to morbidly see (and joke about) the possibility of my couchsurfing host in Lucerne leading me up that mountain to my death, but on I hiked, without any actual fear. Then trusted him when he passed that test and went into the country to stay at his "grandma's dairy farm," that actually wound up being his grandma's dairy farm. It wound up being an experience of a lifetime. It also doesn't help that all of my experiences that could go terribly wrong have gone ridiculously great.

"Fear isn't only a guide to keep us safe; it's also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life." 
-Donald Miller

While talking with my brother the other day, he brought up the time we toured a prison in Vegas. He didn't see how I had no fear when the group of male inmates came in from their gym time and were basically surrounding us. I'm pretty sure I just scooted over toward the wall to let them pass, smiled, and said "hello." I didn't want to treat them like they were some terrible people I was scared of. I remember my main concern hoping that they didn't think we were there watching them like a freak show or saw them as animals or something. 

I don't do these things looking for danger. Adventure, yes. But it's not some sort of self-harm practice. It's to meet people with different lifestyles than me, to experience something I've never done, to learn something new, to grow, and see as much as possible.

One of things that my roommate said about me the other day was one of the best compliments. Following his statements about how, though he may not agree with all my ways, he mentioned that I can see the beauty in anyone; that I could meet a murderer and find something beautiful about them. This was awesome to hear.

Kind of off topic, but simply on being a free spirit and traveling, just do it. Travel solo. I see it as one of the best opportunities to be truly free. You can do whatever you want with no conflicts from peers about what activities to do or what to see, etc. It also frees you to meet whoever you want. You don't have anyone else's opinions, attitudes, or biases affecting who you speak to in a bar or on the street or wherever you encounter people. 

You don't have a connection that makes it less important or necessary to meet people. I think that's a big one. If you go with friends, there's not as much need to mingle. You have your friends or your comfort zone. But if you're going solo, you have the chance to meet whoever, and you're free to be who you want to be. Sometimes friends or families' expectations, opinions, or self fulfilled prophesy kinda factors might affect your behaviors. But going solo leaves it all up to you and who you think you are, who you want to be, and to just be you. 

An example of this, was at the wedding I went to this weekend. I was at a wedding with my best friend, her boyfriend, hers and my parents (which there's no complaints here), but I did notice how I felt somewhat stifled, and wasn't as free as I would've been if I was by myself. So to fight that feeling, I did a couple jigs with some randoms but was still not quite as free.

Traveling solo gives you the opportunity to see, feel, and experience everything with your own mind and heart. Now, I just want to challenge myself to do this no matter the company.



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