A lovely woman named Lauren recently commented on a blog post of mine about the safest/most affordable places for women to travel, where I was seemingly doubting my decision to travel to Thailand for fear that it wasn't safe enough for me to go alone. Her words were of encouragement, sharing that her trip to Thailand was absolutely life-changing for her. She concluded her comment with the phrase, "Fear is the thief of dreams!"
I don't know this Lauren, and I don't know where this quote originates from, but I'm glad she included it in her comment because she's so right.
I've never been one to let fear impact my decisions. If fear had governed my thoughts, I never would have continued skiing after my accident. I never would have taken my first solo plane trip at eight years old. I never would have studied abroad in Ecuador - a country I knew very little about. And I probably never would have taken the leap to move to Los Angeles, a city over 2,000 miles away from my nearest relative.
So why let fear stop me now?
I've had a handful of friends and acquaintances travel to Thailand, and all have had positive experiences. But I keep hearing the voice of my paranoid grandmother in my head - "All someone has to do is grab you and throw you in the back of a car and we'd never see you again!" "Our waiter on the cruise was from Thailand - he said it's not safe for a young girl like you to travel there alone!"
*Cue Liz Lemon-esque eye roll*
But then I think...I guess she's kinda right. It could happen. Anything can happen. I could be kidnapped, or mugged, or I could get Malaria, or...really bad food poisoning?
But as soon as someone starts to live by those terms, so much is lost. Entire cultures never experienced for fear of catching a rare disease. World heritage sites and wonders of the world never glimpsed because someone's friend knows someone who's daughter was mugged near there once. The fact of the matter is, there's resources and blogs and even travel insurance to help prevent these issues so that young women like me can feel safe traveling alone - so I refuse to let fear stand in my way.
So thank you, Lauren, for your words of encouragement. Fear is the thief of dreams, but preparedness, intelligence and awareness is the death of fear.