I have thought long and hard about even writing this article, going back and forth on if I am ready to put this out and share this with our readers. A lot of you who follow us know we LOVE to travel, but that wasn’t always the case for me. I have always had a strong love for travel but the act of getting on a plane was terrifying.
Someone asked me recently “How did you get into travel”? My response was pretty simple “I bought a plane ticket.” Throughout this conversation, this person proceeded to tell me about what a hard life they had and travel wasn’t an option for them. There were just too many setbacks that prevented them from traveling. Each one of you reading this article has probably had something in your life that you wish you could change that was entirely out of your control. I don’t believe that is considered a ‘setback’. Instead, you steer your own life in the direction that is right for you.
I want to share a very personal reflection on my past and how I believe this changed not only how I perceive life but also how I have a much greater appreciation for everything that I learn and experience while traveling the world.
The Day That Changed It All
I believe I was a happy go lucky kid, and of course utterly fascinated with New Kids on the Block (no judgment, I still love boy bands!).
One day all of that changed. On March 24th, 1998, my classmates and I exited what we considered our safe haven because of a fire alarm, only to enter into rounds of gunfire. Not only did we lose our friends and our teacher, we lost our innocence.
I was only 11 years old and I was trying to figure out what happened, why it happened, and what I should do. To this day, my inner child has no idea how to answer those questions. Our childhood was cut short, we grew up very quickly and relied on each other for support.
A Fear of Flying
The idea of traveling to see something new, to run away from my problems sounded so good, I really believed that was my answer. However, there was one small problem associated with this. Everywhere I wanted to go required a flight to get there and I had a real fear of flying!
There was just too many risks associated with that method of transportation, at least, that is what I thought. The fear of the unknown outweighed my excitement for new possibilities.
As my life moved along, I continued to dwell on trying to answer all those questions that remained in my mind since 6th grade. As hard as I tried, nothing was working. Something had to change.
Eventually, while discussing a completely unrelated topic, I received the following advice!
Take emotion out of it, you do that on your own time
I immediately started applying this to everything. Let’s be honest, it was horrible advice! But at the time, it was something I needed. I blocked everything out, did my own thing and only allowed emotions to show when I was alone.
Throughout recent years, Chris and I have shared stories that molded us to where we are today. Things tend to have a way of working out for the right reasons and by following my heart and putting fear aside, I slowly began to conquer what had been beating me up for over 10 years.
Growing My Love for Travel
Over the last 5 years, I have had the opportunity to explore places like London, Iceland, Budapest and even Bratislava. Locations around the world that I could never have dreamed of experiencing. Even places like New York City seemed like a million miles away but now I believe anything is possible. Traveling the world and interacting with others made me realize that I wasn’t the only one with that inherent fear.
We all have to deal with our inner-self and face challenges and fears on a daily basis. Fear of never doing anything is preparing you for failure. I put everything I had previously been fearful of aside and trusted in myself and took on the world with the best partner imaginable.
Travel isn’t about expressing yourself, it’s about learning the culture, learning how to deal with different pressures in a world that rapidly changes. This year will be 18 years since our school shooting and although the pain never goes away, my fear has diminished.
I couldn’t do anything to change the events that happened that day, nor can I change anything else that is out of my control. However, I can change my impression on this planet and to shed light on certain areas of the world that you might never visit.
Places like Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, are depicted negatively through the media (for those of you that have seen Eurotrip and Hostel, you will know what I am referring to), but having visited here I soon realize that this is far from the truth.
I have been incredibly lucky to see everything that I have experienced so far in my life – the good, the bad, and the ugly!
I didn’t get into travel…‘travel’ and the different cultures took ahold of me.
One thing I do know from my travel experiences is that the world is a beautiful place to find your inner peace. I have finally found mine, and I hope our travel experiences help inspire you to find yours.
To all of you out there who fight battles every day, you are doing great!
How do you deal with your fears or personal emotions? Does ‘travel’ have a positive impact on your life?