I think there is a misconception that a lot of people have when they see someone do something scary or hard.
I recently watched the documentary Free Solo. It’s about this super human crazy person named Alex Honnold who boldly and fearlessly climbed the face of El Capitan, a 3000 foot cliff in Yosemite, without a harness or any safety equipment. Just, ya know, winging it.
It’s the kind of movie that really makes you feel guilty for not being able to do a pull up or getting winded after running a mile.
People are so shocked by Alex’s lack of terror from doing LITERALLY the craziest thing I can imagine doing, that they straight up scan his brain to see what’s going on up there. Doctors realize the area of the mind that controls fear works kind of different for Alex than it does for a lot other people’s and that’s part of the reason he can do such dumb/cool things.
So he climbs the cliff and doesn’t die. (spoiler alert???) Then afterword he doesn’t just chill and enjoy his success like most would, he does a workout because like I said, superhuman crazy type of fella.
ANYWAY, this isn’t a movie review. But this movie really got me thinking about how we perceive people doing “crazy things”.
Sure, in certain instances some people do have something inside of them that makes it easier to do hard and scary things- I don’t doubt that. But most people don’t.
Yet there are tons of people doing totally nuts thing, every day, all the time. Be it traveling to a foreign land, hiking solo, parenthood or pull-ups in the gym- somehow people swallow their gut wrenching fear and give it their best shot.
I think that’s the coolest thing ever.
People who just read my blog or happen across my Instagram- heck even some people who know me in real life would consider me somewhat fearless because I’m adventurous...but that is SO far from true.
I obsess over the weather weeks in advance before any trip I take, I research and research and research some more. I’m terrified of cancelled flight and flat tires. My hands sweat when I think about those things. They’re sweating now, it’s adorable.
I’m pretty sure anyone who has planned a trip with me or gone somewhere with me knows this to be true.
I’m not like Alex Honnold. I can’t hang metaphorically let alone literally.
But here’s this thing: in spite of the nerves, the racing thoughts and the obsessive scenarios I create, once I’m there, it’s all worth it.
Even if it does rain everyday, or snow, or if that signature attraction is closed, there has never been one time I’ve thought “wow I should have skipped it all together because one bad thing (or even several) bad things happened”.
And a lot of times in our lives the stakes aren’t as high as we think. It’s not like we make one wrong move and suddenly we die (unless you’re free soloing) most of the time the worst case scenario involves financial frustration, or change, inconvenience or disappointment but the last time I checked all of those things happen no matter what. Even death. #gothblog
This doesn’t just apply to travel of course, it applies to practically everything that’s scary and for me... that’s a heck of a lot of things and I bet it is for you too.
Sometimes I forget that I may portray myself as being bolder than I am (I think a lot of us do) and that can make those around us think there’s something special about how we view the world or ourselves that makes us able to do hard things.
In reality, most brave people are just sweating and gritting their teeth through fears, hoping for the reward of a life well lived.
Crazy human rock climber Alex says he gets the “heebie jeebies” when thinking about climbing without a rope thousands of feet in the air so I guess he sometimes gets a little scared. But I get the “heebie jeebies” when I take out the trash because there’s an old building near the dumpster that looks like prime real estate for a serial killer. I take out the trash all the time and last time I checked he only free climbed El Capitan once. So you can decide who is braver
At the end of the day, not many people are fearless but a lot of people are brave.
I think you’re one of them. :)