One of my earlier memories from my travelling around Myanmar is me, lying in the back of a truck, looking at passing pagodas of Bagan, wondering how can the sun be so orange and thinking that I am heading to the unknown again. It was a manifestation of my reality: now knowing when I get there or if I will be alone all the way there or if I meet someone new or even familiar. Did I feel fear? Or was it more an excitement?
The decision to leave my comfort zone in Europe and head to Indonesia grew on me naturally, when my friend mentioned she wanted to go backpacking in Asia for a month. A month would give us a taste of the adventure, but I knew I was ready for spending more time when I fly in to such a distant place. Having had no commitments, boyfriend or a job in Europe, I embraced the natural insecurity coming from this and acknowledged that I may be lonely at times and I might not be able to build a steady relationship and friendships. But this was also one of the rare times when I could do this. And, in my mind it was also my second chance to do it in a right way (after kind of blowing my first chance in New Zealand).
With an idea what I want to pursue on my journey – energy access in remote areas – hence the blog name – I gave myself a purpose as I moved around the region and each month’s experiences topped up the previous month’s. I started with the Balinese New Year celebration, went to see a traditional one-time-of-the-year event in Sumba, saw orang-utans in Sumatra with Natalia who flew here from Slovakia to travel with me, pushed myself during the 10-days Vipassana meditation, trekked in the glorious Himalayas and get to live and work in the most fascinating countries of all, Myanmar. I wasn’t wrong about feeling lonely at times, it comes with it and I no longer perceive it as an unwelcome feeling, more the opposite: it gives me the opportunity to reflect and think where I am and what it is I am learning. It gives me inspiration to write and it awakens my curiosity. But I was wrong about not being able to build wonderful relationships. Knowing that I have limited time with people I wanted to spend time with, I value the time more, use it to the fullest and make an effort to keep in touch afterwards. Honestly, I feel so blessed and even if I don’t know what comes next, I can confidently say that my decision to ‘go fearless’ was again one of the best in my life and I don’t regret it.
I recently read what feeling no fear does to people’s brain. The article about Alex Honnold, a rope-free climber, captivated me and I think a lot of it is true for me as well – not to the extreme he lives in, I would be scared shitload to climb heights. But I am not scared anymore to go places I know nothing about. I’ve grown more confident in unusual situations and I take them as they come – there is no point in worrying about all that ‘can’ happen. These past few months convinced me that most people are intrinsically good (although I keep myself more alert when I feel there is something fishy going on) and that when I am open and honest I meet a lot of extraordinary people. I also learn that it is not easy to be honest and true with everyone and I also fall into a trap of superficial conversations. But I am now more aware of them.
I know I can always go home. Anytime. But for now, this journey is my pursuit of learning. About me and people around me – be it strangers or new friends or colleagues. I think that everyone should do this kind of jumping into the cold water and just swim to get somewhere further (or pedal, in my case). Fear gets conquered by trying our best to live through it. Step by step. I think because I’ve lost some fear of ‘what will people in public think of me’ it freed me and I don’t think of certain situations I find myself in as weird anymore (like climbing through a fence to a street full of strangers who are noting ‘what an adventure’ [you think so, really?] or cycling down a traditional neighbourhood where no foreigner ever go). Weird or call it unconventional became normal for me, but I also know that just living in a foreign country with a different culture allows me to feel that way. By loosing fear I’ve gained freedom.