Photo: Zhanna Krukovets | Walking on Clouds | Stunning shot — thank you!
Fear is such a troublesome thing. Just the other day, my young friend shared her travel dreams wondering how to deal with fear while adventuring alone and I remembered the days when the same thing bewildered me.
One summer, I set off to live in an antiquated house located in the woody seclusion of a tiny, North Carolinian town. A two month hiatus is what I had in mind. I drive, drive, drive. Arrive in the dark passing the unmarked entrance of the house several times before realizing that the unlit house with no visible house number is the one. My car crawls up its vertical driveway. I park in a swarthy car port, step-out, look around and shiver a little.
The moon is bright— everything is dark. The key is supposedly hidden somewhere on the porch. I step up a high stair, something squeaks, I jump, look around and notice a squeaky porch swing swaying with the wind.
The key is no where to be found. I follow the directions looking here and lifting there until— late as it is— I am forced to make the call. The phone rings, rings, rings. Finally an answer. I receive a different set of instructions, find the keys, regain my composure and push the shiny, copper key into the keyhole. The door peers open.
I was expecting a cozy, charming cottage full of all the story book comforts, but as the door swings open the smell of an uninhabited old house fills my lungs. I unpack my pillow and my first night begins as old house noises swoon in and out of my ears. I was exhausted, but sleep had nothing to do with me. Stupid fears made kept me wide awake. There was no danger known to me, but I was afraid.
I thought of Zhanna [pictured above], as she was on an adventure of her own. I call her. “How are you not afraid doing what you are doing,” I ask and receive an answer that will stay with me for eternity:
“I don’t allow myself to be afraid until something happens. If something happens I let myself be afraid at that moment, but nevermore.”