Embracing the Fear

December 9th, 2014

*Warning: Don’t fear the fear.

Fear fuels my passion. This makes me lucky in a way, it serves as both an advantage and a disadvantage. The leap of faith I take to travel, always stems from the possibility that something might go very wrong. This might be due to the negative stories that the media is constantly brainwashing us with on a daily basis. A girl dies from traveling, a man dies from eating a cockroach, a person dies from standing. We’re all fearful of even eating a cupcake because it might give us cardiac arrest… eventually. The news scars our souls in ways we may not even realize. Research, social media, Google, the things we see, hear and read through the media and the internet make us want to take a step back and not pursue that dream that we’ve always had because it involves, well, death. I get it. It’s made me feel numb to the same fear at times as well.

I’m driven by fear. Flying scares me the most, yet I’ve taken it upon me to go flying in four-seater aircrafts once a month to embrace the fear and make me feel more comfortable.

Expedition 196, the thought of traveling to every country on earth, has been the epitome of a fearful thought. I’m driven by fear attempting at this expedition, but just the right amount of fear. I would never paraglide off the top of Mount Everest or skydive to earth from space because I have an overwhelming amount of fear just thinking about doing these things. This type of fear is unhealthy and should not be pursued. With that said, the people who attempt these types of achievements have just the right amount of fear, as do I in attempting to travel to every country on earth. A person is not going to crawl inside an anaconda if they’re 100% fearful of doing so. They’ll do it with only a 50% fear knowing that this fear is what will evidently, make them feel euphoric and successful in life. It doesn’t matter how you find your passion or what your passion is, but you’ll know you’ve found it when there’s a slight thought of fear that is associated with it, because this fear is what is going to make you thrive in an otherwise ordinary experience that involves no fear at all.

Let me give you some examples. By now you know I’m scared to fly, but I fly on a monthly basis in little planes to help me break that fear. You want to know something else I’m scared of? Reaching out to people and asking for help (not depending). I know you may be confused because on Naked and Afraid you might’ve thought that I was a prime example of someone who has no problem asking for help. However, if you ask any of my teammates, I never once asked for help because that involved working as a team; I tried to succeed on my own, and that was where I faced the majority of my problems. I was offered food and didn’t take it at first because I wanted to get it on my own. I became dehydrated because I wanted to find my own water source, not depend on the one that the others had found. I learned to accept help though that challenge, but even still I never asked (though I probably should have), but the truth is, I didn’t know myself, and I didn’t know that it was okay to ask for help.

Throughout the entire planning of Expedition 196, I’ve had to reach out to strangers, friends, and family for help. I’ve needed to dig down very deep inside myself to muster up the courage to ask people to be involved in my expedition, whether it be sponsors, celebrities, supporters or friends to help me with my pitch; it’s involved a lot of communication with a lot of various types of people. I’ve found that I’ve needed to take a step back and say to myself, “fuck it. just do it. you’ve got nothing to lose. the worst they can say is no. it’s all positive anyways. just forget it all and make the call.” and believe it or not, 9 times out of 10 this method has worked in my favor. Breaking my fear of reaching out asking for help from others has worked to my benefit and has made me a stronger, more confident person. Without the attempt to face this fear, I would not be able to achieve my lifelong dream of traveling the world.

Moral of the story? Let’s face our fears to achieve our dreams. Fear is a good thing, unless you’ve got a gun to your head.