"Always and without fail however, once I arrive there, I think to myself 'what if I had actually listened to that negative voice?'"
“You just went on a trip not too long ago.” “What will people think?” “Is it really wise to take this time off work right now?” “That’s not really good for the bank account is it?”
Despite the many years of travel and never regretting one trip, there is still a grip of fear that comes over - a little voice that tells me to play it safe and not to go.
Not knowing what’s going to happen is both exhilarating and anxiety-inducing. Self-judgement and perceived judgement from others can cause so much stress on the lead up to departure. Logically I know this is silly - no one actually cares enough to have any real effect, but there is some sort of invisible force telling me to just be good and practical - the struggle is real.
Always and without fail however, once I arrive there, I think to myself “what if I had actually listened to that negative voice? What if I would’ve missed out on this amazing experience?”
And yet it happens still, each and every time.
In a way, I think that if there wasn’t that sense of fear, maybe it wouldn’t be so rewarding. Is this sense of terror of the unknown partly what makes the trip worth doing?
Being human is weird. It’s also kind of annoying.
Often on the trip, there is a spectacular moment that instantly makes it all worthwhile and reminds me yet again why it is worth pushing through even when it feels hard and would be easier to just stay home.
On my most recent trip to Australia, that special moment came when I was literally face-to-face with the largest fish in the sea - a whale shark. What an immensely beautiful creature that I was fortunate enough to be able to see like this, in the wild, in one of the handful of places in the world where it is even possible to find them.
I was so close to her, what felt like an arm’s reach, and I kicked my legs furiously to keep up to her comparatively effortless speed and was able to swim alongside this blue spotted giant for minutes in what felt like a dream world, before her powerful tail carried her off into the deep blue sea. It was everything.
The experience has been on my bucket list since I first heard about it while living in Perth 6 years ago - close, yet so far away from Ningaloo Reef where these animals seasonally migrate. I vowed we would come back to Western Australia and experience this incredible encounter.
Living in Auckland now, getting to WA is definitely a bit of a hike and not exactly a cheap flight. But with my sister working in Perth and not knowing how long we will both be living on this side of the world, I felt like now was the time to make it happen.
All four of us who ended up going on the trip felt the squeeze of time, money and practicality but ultimately decided to big fat do it anyway.
The trip turned out to be so much more than I could have hoped for, with every second accounted for in the best possible way. Along with spending quality time with my sister and our partners, we had the greatest adventures, living completely in the moment as we travelled in a 4WD, camped out under the stars every night and visited some of the most incredible places I have ever seen. We covered 4000+ kilometers between Perth and Broome, exploring all that was physically possible in the time we had.
These are the kinds of experiences I risked missing by allowing weird societal anxieties and perceived expectations to encroach on my decisions.
To my future self before the next trip, remember just take the plunge, don’t go with the flow, don’t just do what’s easy. Fight for your sense of adventure and living, and challenge yourself to do what feels scary and feel the essence of travel within your bones. When if ever you find yourself caving to do what is ‘practical’, wake the fudge up. Please wake up.
I will continue to teach myself this same lesson until it finally sticks ;p
Author - Meghan Advent
Meg is one of the co-creators of Travelher and lives and breathes travel. She currently works for an e-commerce travel company in New Zealand and often sells herself on cruises and motorhome trips. Meg misses her family back in Canada and wishes someone would invent the teleport already.