I’m 21 years old and can barely navigate the streets of my own borough without some guidance. I don’t understand how public transportation works in this country but anytime I ask my parents or anyone else for that matter, they just give me an incredulous look and a complicated though poorly detailed explanation of how it all works. I’ve resorted to searching online for information, but again, there’s nothing suitable for my inexperienced mind. Of course the assumption probably is that there aren’t stupid people like me out there who don’t even know how to take a taxi or a bus so why make a site outlining how these things are done?
As you can probably tell, I’m pretty sheltered. My parents have handled or at least assisted me in handling all of my shit since I was a very little girl. I forced myself to start taking responsibility for my life when I was about 16 though and have faced a lot of tough situations alone even though my parents offered to stick by me through it all and I’ve strictly handled all of my university issues from the day I started (which is pretty normal for most people, I know, but it was a big step for me). But when it comes to going places, I’ve never had to depend on public transportation. My father has always driven me to any place that I’ve needed to go. Note the word “needed”. If I want to go somewhere, there’s a 90% chance that my desires will be ignored. With these odds in mind, I simply don’t ask anymore. Also, it should be noted that I can’t drive, although I’m halfway to finally getting my license. It’s really fucking frustrating knowing that each weekend I spend at home in my room, a world out there rushes on in all its glory with opportunities for adventure at every corner while I sit on my bed in front of my laptop.
I know I’m 21 and if I want to go out, I should damn well just go. But despite my frustration, I’m scared about what’s out there. Sheltering your kids from all apparent dangers is only a good idea up to a point. The world outside their protective bubble becomes an unknown creature to them, one who with time becomes gradually scarier anytime you insist that the world outside the bubble must not be explored without guidance. Because they are never forced to face the unknown, the myth is never disproved and lives on as a source of much fear. I’m scared of just getting dressed one day and taking a taxi to the mall and just walking around and checking out the stores. I’m scared of exploring alone. I’m afraid I’ll look stupid and that everyone will know that I’ve never been out alone when they see that look of cluelessness about me. Hell, I’m afraid of just taking the taxi. Now that I’ve outlined all my fears they don’t seem so very unconquerable to me. Still, it will be a while yet before I suddenly decide that I’ve had enough and march out into the unknown regardless of the obstacles that wait in store for me. At the moment, I feel myself brimming with frustration and the need to escape, but I’m still not at the “I’ve had enough!” stage. I can still satiate my needs with some angry writing. But there’ll surely come a point when writing or reading, or any of the other shit I do to make myself feel better, won’t help anymore. Hopefully it will be soon.
This is part of the reason why I want to do something extreme, why I just want to hop on a plane to the middle of nowhere and to explore and have drinks and nice discussions with the people that live there. I have some serious compensating to do for the experiences I missed while being protected from whateverthefuck is out there. But it’s not a good enough reason to want to travel alone. There are other ways I can fix myself and help myself develop into a person who, if placed in the middle of the capital city, can survive. Backpacking through South America and South Asia are still very much a part of my life’s “to do” list but I want to make sure that I do these things for the right reasons and not as an antidote for my fear. I don’t want to spend my time in these places conquering my fear. There are a hell of a lot of other things I want to do instead of that and not in addition to that since the conquering of fear is pretty much a full time objective. I have to fix my fear while I’m here.
I was just looking for an image to add to this post but instead found this nice quote,
The cave you fear to enter, holds the treasure you seek – Joseph Campbell
That’s something for me to keep in mind.
I’ve been spending a lot of my time at work looking up travel in South America and even finding out what level I’m at in Spanish. Apparently I’m advanced in the vocabulary but at the beginner level in grammar. Five years is enough time for all your grammar knowledge to diminish into nothing. My old Spanish teacher would not be pleased at all. She took great pains to teach us all those tenses and when exactly they should be used. It’s sad that I’ve forgotten all of it. Overall, I’m at the intermediate level. I’ve also been pricing tickets and trying to find the locations of all the embassies and consulates for the different South American nations in my country.
I realize that I’ve been taking this travel thing seriously, that I might actually do this thing and that I’m terrified that I won’t do it. Yes, it’s a confusing muddle of emotions. I’m excited that I’m actually taking the steps to make this dream a reality but it’s frightening me a bit as well. If I don’t do it, I will feel so disappointed in myself. And if I do it but it doesn’t live up to my expectations and I end up failing at it, that would really hurt me as well. I’ve invested so much hope into this. This dream to travel and explore constitutes such an enormous chunk of what I aspire to do in life. Perhaps I should think this thing through more and figure out why I want to travel so much. If I was doing it for all the right reasons, I wouldn’t be so confused.