For someone who loves to travel, I am scared of A LOT of things. I hate flying, I hate heights, I hate feeling unsafe in a new situation and I hate being scared. But I love to explore so I find myself in situations a lot where I have to decide: Should I face my fear or not? On our most recent trip to Africa I had to ask myself this A LOT:
1. Should I fly on a small plane or take a car ride that is much longer?
Here I am on the tiniest plane on earth on the windiest day ever.
2. Should I swim to the edge of the world's largest waterfall?
3. Should I get close to a lion?
As you can see, I ended up doing all three! I've developed some criteria for facing my fears that helps me assess if there is actual risk or if I'm just making up stories in my head.
1. Is the activity safe? Even though I was scared of Devil's Pool at Victoria Falls, the activity is generally safe and nobody has died there while on an organized tour. I figured that given their safety rate it was a good idea to do the activity even though I was afraid.
2. Will doing the activity make my trip better? I really did not want to take a small plane into our Safari, but taking a car would have added 2+ hours onto our trip and caused us to miss our first and last game drive. If doing an activity will make my trip better, I am willing to do it.
3. Is anyone else scared? Even though this probably shouldn't be a criteria, I often look to others to see how rational my fear is. I was really scared of the lions on our safari, but as I looked around our tracker and guide were not scared at all. I figured if they weren't scared, I didn't need to be scared.
Asking myself those three questions helps me be more brave than I normally would be. Of course, I too have my limits. You won't see my jumping off a bridge or out of a plane anytime soon! And I am totally OK with that!!