There are a few things I get asked a lot while I’m on the road. One of them is “Aren’t you scared?”
No, I’m not scared, I’ve never been scared. As a woman traveling alone, sometimes through some very remote areas, I have never once felt frightened or in fear of my life. Actually, I’ve found the opposite to be true. Traveling alone like I do, I often have to depend on the kindness of strangers. I am mostly self-reliant, but on occasion, fate dictates that I need some help along the way and I’ve never been let down. On the contrary, I have a deep faith in the inherent kindness of people. The overwhelming majority of my fellow man are kind, giving and always ready to help out a woman in distress. This is something valuable I have learnt in my travels.
I could live my life, or not live my life, based on some intangible fear. I could spend my life safely ensconced between the security of four walls. I could own a stockpile of guns to protect myself from these imaginary foes. I could live a life dictated by fear, in which I am miserable and untrusting of people and the world in general. I could then walk out to put out the bin one evening and get kidnapped and raped. I could be held hostage in the supermarket. Masked bandits could burst into my home and shoot me dead. I could die having been ruled by fear and not having ever lived. That scares me more than anything I may encounter out here.
I’m not silly. I am aware I am a woman alone, often far from home. I take precautions. I usually camp among others and I do carry a machete, just in case. Though the machete has only ever been used to cut a path through to the river! I know I can look after myself and I have common sense.
I am not the only woman out here doing this. I’ve met many a solo woman traveler. Ask them too if they are afraid and you’ll get the same perplexed look and the same answer, “of what?”
But I will not let fear dictate how I live. I am friendly and talk to strangers. This has only ever bought me good things and I would never have met some of the amazing people I have if I kept to myself, afraid of those I don’t know. If you aren’t willing to meet new people, I feel sad for you. Strangers have helped me along the way many a time. From pulling me out of a bog, lending me a phone when I had no service, lending a helping hand with mechanical issues. I’ve found community, fellowship and friendship among my fellow travelers. I’ve found locals that have offered their showers, a home cooked meal or a little patch of their yard. I’ve met so many good people on the road.
Of course there are bad people in this world, but you can cross paths with them anywhere. I just don’t see the point in not living my life as I need to in fear of the rare few. That does not make sense to me.
I choose to not bow to fear.
Pray not for me, for my gods walk beside me. Pray instead for yourself, that that fear may be lifted from you. That you may someday roam as free as I and have faith in humanity and your god, without the taint of some nameless fear in your heart, because all it equates to is a fear of living your life on your own terms. It holds you back from the many wonderful experiences I have had on my fearless travels.
No, I am not and will not, be afraid.