What Fear Have You Faced While Traveling?

Travel Truths is an ongoing question series for travel lovers. I ask and answer a travel related question every week and invite you to answer the question on your blog or on in the comments below. Travel is more then just destinations and experiences, it is a metaphor for life, a state of being, something the heart longs for. Join me as we explore the depths of our relationships with exploration and travel.

What Fear Have You Faced While Traveling?

For most of us, all major trips bring with them a little trepidation. There are so many unknowns involved when traveling which makes things exciting and sometimes just a little scary. Will you be able to get around without knowing the language? What if you can’t find the hotel you booked…and it’s getting late? What fears have you faced while traveling and how did you handle them?

My Answer:

There I stood in the middle of a small village in Costa Rica, dirt road and all, on the only pay phone around. I remember this moment so clearly – me, telling my mom I was okay and deep down inside shivering with fear at my first solo adventure. I might have been even more scared if I knew what was to come.

A day later I was on a beach in a rain forest nearby. I was alone except for my guide, a local with a big smile and an old red truck. The guide started flirting with me – admiring my freckles (that was a first) and basically trying to put the moves on me. When I told him to stop he calmly told me that he would not be taking me back to the village, that I would need to walk out of the rain forest on my own. He pointed in the direction opposite from which we had come and told me that if I followed the coastline I would make it back.

I followed his directions, knowing I couldn’t walk the distance he had driven me but I didn’t know if he had been truthful, I just had to hope he had. On and on I trudged, around me animals shuffled in the brush, huge iguanas watched from the trees, land turned into inlets of water that I had to wade through. The light started to fade.

That was the moment I truly became scared. I was lost in a rain forest as night was setting in. I walked on, but filling my head were scenarios of having to sleep on the forest floor. Everything about the forest was foreign to me, the smells, the wildness, and the animals that I could hear but could not see.

All I could do was walk. It felt like I walked for hours, though I’m not sure. And then the noise came. Boomm da da boom da da…..off in the distance, drums. Did I really hear that? I walked a little further and the drum sounds grew louder. Had I somehow walked past my village and reached the tribal village that was rumored to be past my own? I was terrified but no option was good so I walked towards the drums.

Louder and louder they came, sounds of… merriment? Yes. Okay, I could handle this. Out I came from the leaves and shadows and the strange animals, straight into….a parade, in my village! Drums and dancers and joy. Relief.

For years I thought that the lesson was not to trust. I thought that the lesson I had learned was not to trust other people and to be on your guard when traveling. But today, I see it as a lesson in faith. I was learning to trust in myself and perhaps in the idea that any path you follow will eventually lead you to where you need to be.

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What Fear Have You Faced While Traveling?

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