The only thing to fear is fear itself
It is definitely true to say that in case my life had continued “normally”… I may not have seen the places that I have visited recently, nor written my book called “Revolutions”.
Not to say that I hadn’t dreamed of visiting the Kremlin or Taj Mahal or any of the places. I remember many years ago: planning a trip from coast to coast across America when I found myself procrastinating instead of revising for my A-levels.
Writing a book
I was always addicted to travel. I was inspired (and still am) by people like Neil Peart and Michael Palin. However, in the back of my mind, great adventures is what other people explain as freedom. Rich people or writers, journalists, bohemians, or strangers; not “normal” people. Or better to say “mainstream”!?
I was dreaming of writing my own book. And I couldn’t do that either. This is what others do as well. Like writers.
Perhaps then I must be grateful
For the big kick in the nuts life gave me. Yet whether in regular day life or whether shaken to the core, it seems it is fear that stops us doing anything. In Frankfurt over three years ago, I was so fragile. I felt beaten and battered. I was very afraid of what I would do next.
And when I think back to my life before this situation, it was also filled with fear. I was worried all the time to upset my boss, or wife (usually both), of not being as smart as other people, of losing my job and therefore having to work harder.
Fear to miss out
I was always afraid to miss out and I never took a chance. We are fed fear all the time by parents, bosses, friends and the world in general. The worry of screwing up, of unknown places, of unknown food and of other people.
The fear that the economy will collapse, of not having enough savings or a good enough pension. And the fear of change. To stick with what you know.
To travel around the world cost me less
Than I had thought. So how can we have a good time in this thick mist of fear? Even my own healing road was a stop-start affair; a spiritual moment at the Great Wall of China and less than a week later I was in a divorce court. A spectacular evening light show at Chichen Itza and a week later I was in a hospital for knee surgery.
So what is different now for me? Totally nothing. All my fears are still there – of not earning enough money, not being loved, being away from home too much. Of being able to please everybody, being disconnected from corporate life for too long, not always being busy, being unsafe. Or of being robbed, being too hot, or of being too cold and of mosquito bites.
Actually, I have added more things to my list. I have just released my first book and I am putting this article out there. I am opening up to the world. However, I do take solace from Neil Gaiman’s fantastic quote, “The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked, it is the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
Money – sometimes you need less than you imagine
As with a lot of people, money worries top my list. Money matters. However, in my experience, it seems to have a way of coming in and of going out all by itself. In spite of the law of attraction. And in spite of manifestation and in spite of the many blogs on how to make money from our passions. I still have not been able to master this and I personally don’t know anybody who has.
Yet, I need less money than I ever thought. It cost me less to travel around the world than I had imagined. I went for a drink with an ex-work colleague. He mentioned all the reasons why he couldn’t do a crazy trip like mine and then continued to talk about another colleague who had just purchased a new car for £60,000!
While I did not scrimp or save on my journey of a lifetime, but I could have done an extra three revolutions of the planet for this amount of money.
I added experience to counterbalance my fears
Sharing a small apartment with a Russian police officer on the Trans Siberia Railway was really unique. I walked across frozen Lake Baikal. I stood and watched from the outer deck while the ferry cracked the thick ice leaving the bay of Vladivostok. heading in the direction of the Sea of Japan.
Wrapped in a smooth silky kimono in a shukubo temple in Koya and in a honkon temple near Fuji. It was unique, feeling this spiritual atmosphere.
During my adventure, I crossed the international dateline while being the only passenger on a container ship. Standing at the very front of the vessel in the middle of the immensely Pacific Ocean.
Even the bad experiences, like a car crash in Moscow, or watching the sad commuters in Tokyo. The soullessness of Seoul and feeling more alone than ever with the overfed and almost dead on a cruise ship across the Atlantic Ocean, are of more value to me than to have a job that doesn’t serve my soul or to have a new car.
Dreams are not just for others. Dreams are for each of us. It is not an exclusive club. Change can be painful but nothing is as painful as to stay in a rut and watching our dreams die.