I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Several people have told me how “brave” I am for having gone on this trip. I'm never sure how to respond to that, mostly because it's is not a word I ever use to describe myself. I'm naturally very timid, a serious introvert, and still battle shyness on a daily basis. And I don't feel as though I've done anything particularly brave.

Much of travel is the same routine wherever you go: airplanes and taxis and hotels, changing money, finding a place to eat, figuring out how to get to the sights you want to see. I don't go to dangerous places or do particularly daring things, and I'm able to go to Jordan by myself because I've already gone to many other places and I've learned how to do it. (Plus we have the internet. Traveling is much, much easier when you can plan it all online.) Things that used to scare me a lot aren't as intimidating anymore because I know how to handle them, and I always say that learning how to travel by myself is one of the smartest things I've ever done because the lessons apply to much more than just taking my next vacation.

That said, I do still get scared. I had two major anxiety attacks on this trip -- one in a restaurant in Jaipur where I was having lunch, and one here, on the drive to the desert barbecue in Abu Dhabi. After we left the city, and before we got to the dunes, we drove for fifteen minutes or so through an emptiness that made me uneasy at first, and then increasingly anxious. It was flat, sand and rock, with nothing anywhere except a few low fences and the occasional utility pole. The other tourists were chatting away in German, the driver was focused on the road, and I thought, “What is this place? What the hell am I doing here?”

Then we drove off the road and into the dunes and the beauty distracted me. And I was fine the rest of the evening and enjoyed myself very much. But I do remember that moment of panic, of feeling lost in a place that was completely alien and wanting to flee to someplace familiar. Back to the city. Back to my hotel. Home.

So I'm not all that brave. Fortunately, you don't have to be.

1 comment:

Lizanne said...

Thanks, great post! I also sometimes travel alone because of the freedom it affords me, but it definitely can be uncomfortable at times. But what you gain in the end makes it so worthwhile. Have a great rest of your trip.

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