Fear, Joy and Adventure

If I’m being completely and brutally honest, sometimes just leaving my house to go to Target scares me so needless to say getting on a plane to India was way out of my comfort zone.

Which is exactly why I wanted to go. Because I knew that I couldn’t keep living my life in fear. That in order to grow, I’d have to push myself to do things that scared me. Terrified me, even.

I remember the day I left. It’s kind of like a defining moment in this journey. Tears were streaming down my face as my mom dropped me off at the airport. The scene was sad. Sort of pathetic. But real.

I kept reminding myself with every step, that this would be painful and difficult and that’s why I had to go. The tears meant I was really pushing myself out of my comfort zone. That I was truly taking steps to become the best version of myself.

I remember landing at the Amsterdam Airport for my layover, terrified that I had made it halfway, but still scared of the journey to come. But I forced myself to keep moving, find my gate, and board my flight to Mumbai, India. As scared as I was, I had faith it would all be okay.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

The other half of my journey I got terrible motion sickness. Like so terrible I threw up twice in the small plane bathroom. I rarely get sick, hadn’t thrown up in like ten years, so yeah, the scenario was truly my worst nightmare. But I got through it, and you know what, I still landed in one piece.

Navigating the customs process alone was either a comedy show or horror movie. Haven’t decided which it was, but either way, I made it through to the other side where I was greeted by the friends I’d be staying with in India.

I remember how relieved I was to not be on my own. My first words in greeting were “I’m so glad to see you!” as I thanked God I wasn’t alone anymore!

The trip was truly a trip of a lifetime. I had some pretty awesome experiences during my travels and met some really cool people along the way!

Taking a rickshaw ride through the streets of Mumbai!

I’m a generally introverted person and sometimes the thought of meeting new people is enough to send me running (okay, maybe full on sprinting) in the opposite direction, but that was, of course, the whole point of this trip. I pushed myself to meet people, and talk, and do things even though they scared me.

And you know what, I left my comfort zone, and nothing bad happened. In fact, I made new friends and memories that will last a life time. And nothing is better than making a new friend across the world who also shares your love of Frozen. Just saying.

I accepted there will always be a piece of me that is quiet and there is nothing wrong with being a little quiet. There is also a piece of me that talks way too much and is far too blatant. There is nothing wrong with being that person either. Being real doesn’t make you different or weird. It just makes you, you.

In pictures, it’s easy to see the joy I had in the adventure of it all. What you don’t see, is the anxiety and fear underlying. Don’t get me wrong, I had an absolute blast in India! I really did.

But just because it was fun, doesn’t mean it didn’t take everything in me, every fiber of strength I had, to do. Every venture, every step I took, was like a step of faith. Of trust that everything was going to be okay.

That no, I wouldn’t die crossing the street (although honestly I’m not sure why they don’t have crosswalks there), and no I wouldn’t get sick from the food (thank God I didn’t!), and yes or actually no…I shouldn’t eat the street food.

I could be myself and sometimes that would mean struggle and sometimes coming across as an absolute dork, but it was all okay.

Because I embraced every step of the journey and made it my own story. I just can’t be afraid to share it.

Gateway of India

I’m not saying I came back from this trip an entirely new person. I didn’t. But I can see how I changed, and the areas of my life and myself that were impacted positively by both the challenges I faced, and the things I learned. I’m proud of myself for venturing into the unknown. For stepping out in faith, even though I wasn’t sure where that would lead. For allowing myself to just simply be alive and not worry about what others thought of that choice.

And I’m thankful I had this opportunity, and thankful for the friends who took me in, supported me, showed me the parts of India they love, and gave me the chance to grow. By doing this, they showed me that I could grow outside this adventure, too. That this is where my adventure begins. Not where it ends.

Exploring the beaches of Goa, India!

Now, I don’t need to travel across the world to keep growing, although travel will no doubt be in my future. I can find new ways to challenge myself.

I can grow right here at home. Which is currently where everyone is right now, anyway.

I know life will bring an all new set of challenges. But I’m not afraid of being afraid anymore. Because I proved to myself, that just because something may be scary, doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. In fact, sometimes that means it is.

Going to India was the best decision I’ve ever made. One day, I’d love to go back again. It was the trip of a lifetime, and also, ironically, in some ways…the trip of my nightmares. But not because it wasn’t an adventure, but because it was an adventure. An adventure that opened my eyes, that allowed me to feel both fear and freedom…heart pounding nervousness and heart pounding joy. It’s like needing to feel sad in order to understand what true happiness is. I needed to be afraid of the challenge in order to experience the joy in traveling abroad.

You know what: these feelings are what it means to be alive. What it is to be human. A reminder of our own mortality and how life is a gift to embrace head on, and to not let anything stop you from living it.

So, that’s what I’m going to keep doing from now on. No matter where my life leads.

I’m going to keep living.

Through the adventures, through the heart pounding nervousness, and through the heart pounding joy.

Because without pushing past my fear of the unknown, I wouldn’t have experienced the joy in the adventure.

faith life personal essay self-reflection Thankful travel

Rachel Writes View All →

Hi! My name is Rachel. I love to write. Write about life, love, and reflect on how the past builds the future. Mostly, I love to tell stories because I believe there is something about stories that brings the world closer together. You can check out some of my writing reflections here at Rachel Writes.

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