Sometimes we need to do a thing even if we’re scared, don’t you agree? Sometimes we feel in our gut that the action is the right even if others are saying it’s not. More and more as I age, I act upon how I feel and take my head out of the decision process. If what I’m about to do or say feels good, I go ahead. If it doesn’t, I stop right there.
For me, this “feels good” decision making works.
Here’s an example for you. I traveled around the world by myself when 28 years old. I’d never traveled outside the United States and I wanted to get to know other peoples and places. I decided to take a leave from work and save enough money to travel for three months.
In those days, you could travel for $5/day according to a popular travel book. I bought the book and decided to do the same as the author. I also saved up for a 25,000 mile airplane ticket accepted by all airlines. Another something that could be done in those days. Any airline, even small ones flying only inside countries like India, accepted the ticket.
My first decision was whether to see as many countries as possible or to travel to two or three, stay awhile and explore. Knowing my personality, it wasn’t hard to make a choice. I easily decided to see as many countries as I could for as long as I could.
Having made those plans, I had to decide if I had the courage to actually travel by myself. Here’s where the advice I’m sharing with you comes in.
I resolved that issue by asking myself if, at age 60, I would regret not having taken the trip. You understand that at 28 years old, sixty seemed very far away and quite old. Having gotten there and passed it, I now know that sixty is not an age when life stops. I launched a new career as a senior—published author.
Highlighted emotionally was how much motivation I had to actually step on a plane and start the journey. Remember, I’d never traveled out of the United States except the border towns of Mexico—Mexicali, Juarez and Tijuana—and Windsor, Canada.
Before I took off, co-workers and some friends told me I was going to be robbed, raped, murdered and sold into white slavery—although not in that order. My family knew me. They weren’t encouraging, but they knew I’d do it.
My sister took care of paying my bills and my friend stored boxes of personal things until I returned. On the big day, my boyfriend, who became my husband, took me to the Los Angeles airport for my first flight—United to Honolulu.
My knees shook, my heart beat fast and I had doubts, but I remembered that I had a plane ticket that could get me back home from anywhere within 25,000 miles. I got on the plane with one big suitcase and one carry on.
After a week on the islands of Oahu and Hawaii, I was ready for my first foreign city—Tokyo, Japan. Ten days later I had traveled the breadth of Japan and flown to the island Hokkaido. I was seasoned and feeling ready to tackle Taipei, Taiwan. Americans were not allowed in China in those days.
By my third country, I was getting so casual about flying that I didn’t bother standing in line when my seat number was called, but waited until most passengers had boarded. Upon arrival, I headed straight for the Tourist Bureau desk, got advice on money exchanges, YWCA’s or small residence hotels, and local transportation. Eventually, I’d check my large suitcase at the airport and only taken enough clothes in the carry on for the few days I traveled in each city.
The people I met, the cultures I came to understand and the cultural sites I walked were unbelievably terrific. I traveled from Taiwan to Hong Kong, Macau, Kowloon, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Lebanon, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Madeira Island and London, England.
I traveled fast and I walked for miles to see as much as I could because I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get another chance to travel like this. That turned out to be true. Soon after my trip, I finished my B.A. at U.C.-Berkeley and got married after graduation.
If it feels right, act.
Use common sense, of course. I stayed near tourists and tour groups and in reputable hotels or Y’s. But I did it. Had I listened to the fears of others and cancelled the trip, I would have missed out on one of the best experiences of my life.
Have you taken trips that turned out terrific despite other people’s dire predictions?