Whenever I start on an adventure I experience fear. My monkey mind runs wild.
What if I get hit by a hurricane? Yes, yes, I know I have already survived two hurricanes when paddling, but what if this one is bigger and not forecast?
What if my 63 year old body isn't up to the challenge? Yes, yes, I know I've progressed in the Royal Canadian Air Force fitness program from the exercises for 60 year olds to those for 35 year olds, but what if my tendinitis will not calm down?
What if I've packed too much into my kayak and will not be able to kayak very fast? Well, that's not a fear. That's just a fact. The only question is, how far will I go before I start sending gear home?
I recognize the fear and the what if questions as a familiar part of every stepping off point, be it the start of an expedition, or moving to a new city, or retiring from a career, or even every day on a trip. What if I can't find a safe place to land the kayak today? What if I can't find a place to sleep tonight?
Just because the fear and what if questions are familiar does not make them any less frightening. What keeps me going is the other familiar knowledge. If I had let the fear take over in the past, I would have missed out on most of the best parts of my life. A little fear is good. It keeps me aware and on my toes. I just need to remember not to give in to the fear.
I think back to Hanley Denning deciding to sell her computer and car and give up her graduate fellowship so she could help the children from the garbage dump go to school. So many people told her it was impossible, it couldn't be done. But she didn't listen to the fear and the what if questions. Now almost 600 students are attending school each day thanks to Hanley and the Safe Passage program she started.
I hope we all remember to work through our fear and our what if questions, and then take those leaps, great and small, and enjoy all of the adventures of our lives.