By Lynsey Eaton | Photography by SUKILYNN
I’ve been thinking a lot about traveling lately.
In my youth (i.e., my entire existence prior to this last year), I was a traveler. I lived for the next location, lusted after new cultures and feasted on foreign ideas. If I could have found the courage to adopt a nomadic lifestyle, I would have done it in a heartbeat. My heart wanted it.
But that’s not to say I was a good traveler. I wasn’t. I traveled because I was afraid of it, not because I was good at it. I was uncomfortable, impractical and fearful of what lurked behind the airplane doors. About what might happen the minute I exited them.
The unknown terrorized me. And yet the more I traveled, the more people I met and cultures I experienced, the less the fear of the vastness that is our universe gripped me. The more I understood our differences and celebrated them, because they are beautiful. The more full my heart felt, the easier it was for me to love and the more my entire being craved the next experience.
Even as I prepared to start a family, I planned one “last” trip. Somewhere that I might not go if I had little ones that depended on my being alive. I picked a place that guaranteed my discomfort and was sure to be a story I would tell my grandchildren from the safety of an old leather arm chair. And we went there and did that.
Then I got pregnant. I spent the next nine months enraptured by the terrifying, unbelievable and all-consuming experience that is making a life. I gave birth to that life and spent the last five months encompassed by the seemingly impossible task of keeping her alive. I was petrified, but this time the thing that scared me wasn’t behind an airplane door, it was in my house. And the years of going places and doing things that made me uncomfortable, of challenging myself, prepared me for that moment.
There’s a reason the old maxim “Do one thing a day that scares you” exists. You need to face your fears so you know that you can overcome them. The more afraid I am of something, the more motivated I am to face it.
Life is full of things to be afraid of. There are countless boogey-men hiding in our closets.
I am convinced that 90% of the hate in this world is motivated by fear. What would the world be like if we forced ourselves to go somewhere that scared us? To experience cultures we didn’t understand?
As I sit here, starting to regain my composure, lift my head from the ashes of my old life and think about the future, the old itch for an adventure has found its way back into my head space. Scratching at parts of my brain that lay dormant while I played around with new ones.
I want to go somewhere. I need to go somewhere.
And yet, I’m not ready. The idea of being away from this little girl is a whole new kind of fear I’ve never experienced. On the heels of my first trip away from home (albeit’s only for two days), I am facing a new kind of fear. Not of a place (although Las Vegas is definitely scary) or the unknown, but of being away from my people. Of missing something, even if it’s just a moment of hugging her little body close.
It’s the ultimate FOMO.
So here I am again, heading into a trip with a belly full of butterflies and a little trepidation in my step, knowing that I will be better for having gone, but fearful of what it might take to get there.