Stop Fearing, Start Going
I wrote this piece during my most recent trip abroad to Honduras. As a country with some of the most undesirable titles, including "most dangerous country in the World" and "highest murder rate in the World," to many it would seem like somewhere to leave off of your list of places to see. And as a solo female traveller, the usual questions and remarks regarding my safety and implied stupidity were, of course, tossed my way. But guess what? I receive these responses every time I travel. No matter where I go. No matter what I do. Everyone always tells me some reason to be afraid - some reason not to risk going. But what is life if you don't question what is true? What is life if you never risk going? What is life if it's always limited by fear?
In Honduras, I was met with vibrant culture, beautiful landscapes, kind people and new perspectives. I heard, firsthand, stories of violence, illegal immigration attempts, and countless other truths of Honduran lives. I also witnessed joy, strength, kindness and openness - similar to what I've experienced in every country I have been told not to travel alone to. I hiked through beautiful mountains, watched waterfalls crash, and felt the calm of paddling on the largest lake in the country. I saw, once again, how misconstrued our perceptions of this world are; how little we question the labels; how rarely we dare to be curious. And this is what I took away from it:
There will always be people who try to dissuade you from doing things they are afraid to do or going places they are afraid to go themselves. Always. We live in a culture of fear, but do not succumb to it. Do not fear the world. Instead, fear the media, the politicians, and all those that instil terror in you of anything outside the walls that surround you and keep you “safe.” Fear the box you live in. Fear the rat race – the life measured by possessions and bank account balances, rather than experiences. Be very afraid of those things, but do not fear the world. It’s not nearly as scary as you think it is.
I’m not trying to be ignorant to the fact that absolutely awful things do happen in this world. All the time. In every single country. But they are not the whole story. Every country has its magic – has something incredible to offer. Don’t listen to those who try to tell you otherwise.
Please, look beyond the headlines and what the naysayers tell you, and do not fear the world. Instead, fear the way you are told to think about the world and the way you do think about it. Question it. And, maybe, try to change it.