Since I made this decision to travel the country full time, I’ve been asked the same questions over and over by countless friends, family and strangers.
“Aren’t you afraid?”
“You’re a solo female, driving across the country, towing a teardrop trailer.” They said. “There are scary people out there in this world. Are you packing? How will you stay safe?” They asked.
Well. Here’s how I see it.
I have lived a radically unconventional life. I grew up in a tough area of St. Paul, (Rice Street), lived in a few challenging neighborhoods, and worked in some pretty shady bars. I’ve experienced sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and physical abuse in my younger days, and as an adult, I watched my husband die after suffering from multiple cancers and COPD for 10 years. This was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, and I imagine, I will ever do. So when people ask me if I am afraid I tell them…
Yes. I am afraid.
- I am afraid of not living my one and only life.
- I am afraid of wasting this incredible gift of freedom that I have received.
- I am afraid that I will grieve forever.
- I am afraid that I will let my husbands cancer(s) define who I am.
- I am afraid that I will get to the end of my life and have regrets that I didn’t follow my dreams.
- I am afraid that I will miss a breathtaking sunset at the edge of the ocean, ride a bicycle through the desert or zipline through the mountains.
- I am afraid that my perspective of humanity will be confined to a 50 square mile radius.
- I am afraid that my culture is the only one I will ever experience.
- I am afraid that my life won’t be defined by me but by what I have let society dictate for me.
- I am afraid that I will stay secure and comfortable in my surroundings and not challenge myself to do more, explore more, and be more.
- I am afraid that I will allow other peoples’ fears freeze me from experiencing something magnificent.
- I am afraid that will get to the end of my life and wished I would’ve taken more risks.
- I am afraid that I will miss the opportunity to explore something unknown.
- I am afraid that I won’t be brave enough to be uncomfortable on a daily basis.
- I am afraid that I will stop challenging myself.
- I am afraid that I will stop experiencing new music and I’ll forget to let it nourish my soul.
- I am afraid that I will go through the second half of my life — just coasting.
- I am afraid of not experiencing new friendships and I am also afraid of not nurturing the lifelong and sacred ones that have held me up over the years.
- I am afraid that I will end up with expectations of me taking medications and watching my body get old.
- I am afraid of not being spontaneous and missing out on an adventure.
- I am afraid that my brain will stop working if I stop challenging it with new conversations and new problems.
- I am afraid that I’ll stop being capable, strong, and independent.
- I am afraid that I’ll never change and grow and expand as a human being.
- I am afraid that I will miss feeling intimacy, laughter, and companionship with another man again.
- I am afraid that I will never feel the power of love again.
But mostly. I am afraid that I will not live my truth.
So, in answer to your questions.
Yes. I am afraid.
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.” ~ George Bernard Shaw