This trip certainly was an adventure! As I have shared, there were experiences of being lost, out of my element, and out of my comfort zone. I am one who believes that pushing beyond our normal safe spaces is good, but there is a fine line between that and safety.
Leaving for Zambia, I wasn’t nervous! Even though I did not yet know if I had a place to stay, I knew it would all work out. However, I my family and friends were concerned! “BE SAFE”. “Do you have emergency phone numbers?”, “Did you book a hotel, just in case?”, and etc.
Were there things that made me feel uncomfortable or fearful? Yes.
|Traveling on a bus to a more remote area|
|Bargaining at the market|
|Standing alone in the bus depot|
Machine guns at the airport
So what do you do? Get more ‘comfortable’ by forcing yourself out a bit more.
For example, on the bus, I sat next to a 17 year old named Seif. We had 7 hours of travel ahead of us, so we began to talk. First about his love for soccer, music of any kind….except country, his IT studies and more. Then to more personal things, as when he mentioned he was from Northern Sudan, I asked what he thought about the recent Referendum. By taking down a bit of that ‘unknown’ through getting to know Seif, I felt more at ease.
Later in the week, when I was at my conference, I was itching to get out and explore. Night always came too quickly, and again there is a difference between pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and not being safe. As a female, I decided not to travel at night alone. However, one day at lunch I decided to venture out to the shopping market. I borrowed my colleague’s local cell phone, and grabbed a taxi from the queue.
After clearing up that I wanted to go to Kabawata Village, not kwatcha (which is the local money) village, we were on our way. Matthews, my taxi driver, and I had a great time! After laughing about the mix-up “C’mon Matthews, don’t you want to go to the money village?”, I enjoyed getting a personal tour of the city.
Once we arrived, Matthews agreed to wait for me to take me back to the hotel. A nice business proposition, and another smart move as there weren’t many taxis in this area.
Thirty minutes later, armed with gifts, and confused about how much I paid for any of it, we headed back to the hotel.
For me, the message with fear is let it be present. As Rumi says, invite it in. It too has a purpose in our life. Just be sure you let yourself find the difference between fear and something just uncomfortable, because otherwise you’ll miss discovering the vast and beautiful world that lies in between.