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 over 10 years. This was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, and I imagine, will ever do. I understand that when folks are worried or afraid for me, it’s their own fears creeping to the surface. Fear of letting go, of trusting, of expecting the good in people instead of the bad.
So when people ask me if I am afraid I tell them…
Yes. I am afraid.
- I am afraid of not living my best 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 I 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 magnificent and unusual.
- 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