I’ve had a hard time overcoming my fears. The reason is simple, I’m really scared of heights. Like most fears, it is mostly irrational, although if you fall from a great height it does hurt… I digress, so why am I telling you this in a travel blog. Well, a large part of travel and even some parts of life involve overcoming your fears to achieve your goals.
In my case, overcoming my fears involves high places. Sometimes I intentionally put myself in a position where I’ve had to come to terms with my fears, at other times it is completely unexpected (my worst experience to date was watching a cleaner climb out of a window on the seventeenth floor of a building with a thin rope tied round his chest. Not something I needed to deal with on a hangover).
Arriving at a new city or visiting a place I’ve never been before normally involves taking an elevator to the top of something or climbing something. Whether it’s a mountain or a tall building, the view from the top is almost certainly better than the one that you get from the bottom; as someone who has made all of the effort to visit the place I want to see that view, be wowed and amazed before hurrying back down to the relative safety of the ground. In short I am overcoming my fears all the time.
At times, such as the one where I decided to jump out of a plane with a parachute, I’ve pushed myself to my mental limits and succeeded in overcoming my fears and achieve my goals. Pushing myself has even included more mundane tasks, like climbing the old Dutch lighthouse in Bangka Belitung. Looking back at those experiences, the sense of satisfaction I have and the memories I’ve got make the experience so worthwhile.
Just above this paragraph is a photo from the last time I managed to overcome my fear of heights, when I went diving in Raja Ampat (I Know I’m standing at the top of a hill, but at the time it was the best place to appreciate the ocean ;)). The view from the top and the experience of getting there is a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Like so much in life, if you don’t try, you will never succeed, which is what makes overcoming my fears such a satisfying thing.