Tag Archives: fears

Fears of the unknown

I have many fears, as I am sure most people do. Some of my fears are common (war is on the top of that list) and some are not so common, I think.
I have overcome many fears since my traveling life has begun.  One was traveling alone ~ could I do it? Could I be happy being alone in a foreign place?   I have conquered that fear. Being alone in a foreign country is more liberating than fearful. Its an amazing feeling walking through European cities or Chinese cities and having a feeling of belonging, despite being stared at. Taking in all the sights to see, the smells, people watching. Experiencing a whole new way to live.  Adjusting as well as you can to the language.  I am happy to say that the fear of this unknown was a good one to overcome.

Last night I conquered a personal fear.  Eating out in public.  I have eaten in restaurants here in China ~ I don’t always like doing that but I have done it (the noisy eating I will never get used to!).  But there is one thing I have wanted to do and couldn’t work up the nerve to do, until last night.
BBQ is very popular here. There is a BBQ place near my place but I didn’t know what the food was. That’s another fear!  What am I eating?? I don’t usually ask, until last night.  I was walking by, on my way to get my usual chicken and rice dish when two of my students and their parents asked me to join them. So I did. I sat down, ate delicious food outside, with people watching, taking pictures and talking about me. (I know the Chinese word for foreign teacher ).

My usual chicken dish that I love!!
What did I eat?  Grilled tofu (I love tofu!!), a seafood skewer (no one could tell me what kind of seafood it was but it was good!), pork skins (yummy!), chicken (what part of the chicken is unknown but it was really good), chicken wings and a huge bottle of beer.  I overcame the fear of the unknown food and enjoyed a lovely evening with these very generous people.  And now I know I will definitely sit down again and enjoy the food there.
So when you’re traveling, take the plunge and try local food. Don’t be afraid. You may be pleasantly surprised!!  (I did say no to chicken gizzards though ~ I had to draw the line somewhere!)

Which path will you take?

Every day on my way home from teaching, I come to two paths. One is stone, easy to walk on but uneven. The other is grassy, an uneven surface but muddy.  

A sudden storm came through the city today, lighting up the afternoon sky and rolling thunder, scaring me and the kids in class!  Luckily, when I left for home, the rain had stopped, leaving a freshness in the air but a wet walk.

When I came to the path, I pondered which to take. Do I take the stone path and avoid the mud but possibly slipping on the wet stone?  Or do I take the muddy path and get dirty, but avoid slipping?  

As I made my way home, this thought kept creeping into my mind. Had I taken the safer path in my life, would it have been as exciting as my life is now?

There are times in our life that choosing the safe path is the best thing to do for ourselves.  But then there are other times that its okay to take the riskier path just to see what happens.

The question is ~ what if you decide to turn around and never take either path? What if you decide that you would rather go the long (and safe) way to your destination?

Life is what we make of it.  Choosing the path that is right for you is something only you can figure out. Be a risk taker sometimes ~ take that unknown path and see where it leads you.  The future is yours!!

So are you wondering which path I took??   I took the grass path ~ uneven surface with lots of mud.  I felt like a kid again, getting muddy, and enjoying the walk.  I always try to choose the path that will make me happiest!  

Facing fears in our 50’s

In just over a month, I will be turning 52. I cannot believe I am this age. On most days, I feel like I am somewhere between 30 and 40. Of course, there are days I wake up and as I climb out of bed, my body reminds me of my age!!
Being in my 50s is amazing but of course there are fears I have had to overcome, and am still working on.
Being alone as we age. I like being single, I like having my own space, eating what I want, going where I want. But there is this voice in the back of my head that comes out to rear its ugly head every now and then and yell at me that I should find someone to grow old with. At times I think it would be nice to have that, but I am so independent I don’t think there’s any man who would tolerate me. Perhaps one day …
Being a solo traveler. This was a huge fear when I first moved to Prague ~ that overwhelming feeling that came over me as I boarded that plane ~ what the hell was I doing? I was scared. I didn’t know if I would be safe. Would I go screaming back to the airport and back to Canada because of the fear that was racing through my body? Of course not. But I learned to be very aware of my surroundings and to always have a charged cell phone with me. It is all a matter of being sensible, looking confident and making yourself NOT look like a tourist. (Put the guidebooks away!)
Changing your career. This is something I think our families are more afraid of for us.  I have changed my job every few years anyway so while it is challenging at this age to change a career, it is not impossible. Change is scary at any age ~ you just have to take that leap of faith and believe in yourself. I did and look at me now!  It is still a bit scary but fear motivates me.
While I was in Shenyang this week, I befriended a lovely young lady and we spent the day together doing tourist things together (Chinese people are so friendly!). She asked me how old I was, and I told her. She first was shocked and then replied with “I never would have thought you were in your 50’s ~ you are the coolest person !” It made my day that she thought I was cool and that she dismissed my age so quickly. It didn’t matter to her how old I was ~ she just wanted to hang out.
Age is just a number. You really are as old as you feel. So while my 52nd birthday approaches, I will continue to act however I want and will face my fears straight on. And when those voices start telling me things like I shouldn’t do this or that, I will just push those away and continue on with my awesome and “cool” life.