SAP and Pyxera have invested a lot of time to make sure we are ready for this journey. On last week’s training call, I confessed to being a mix of nervous, excited, and even a little afraid. One of my new friends asked why I am afraid. It is hard to put into words, but so I can see afterwards if my fears were founded, I’ll try…
I’m not afraid of what most people would expect: safety. I have traveled the world alone and am always hyper-vigilant of my surroundings. Things can happen; I know I’ll be alert and cautious. Plus it doesn’t hurt that I’m rather large and freakishly strong. : )
Fear #1: seeing the degree of poverty that afflicts so many in India. Very few of the people there have had the opportunities that I have had, and I feel guilty that so much of my life is based on luck of where I was born. We weren’t wealthy, but I never went hungry, and I had everything I needed and a good deal of what I wanted. How will I handle seeing folks who haven’t had that? Children begging in the street? Families living in tiny shanties without plumbing or electricity? I saw some of that in South Africa while we drove to the airport in Johannesburg. That was hard, and it lasted for all of 20 minutes as we traveled through. How will I cope / be affected when I am not in a car passing by but immersed for a month?
Fear #2: animals. Not that I’m afraid of animals – quite the opposite! I love all animals, to the point where I spent several years as a vegetarian. My family knows that one of the few things that can make me cry is when an animal is harmed or neglected. It has been a struggle for me visiting places where I’ve observed dogs and cats roaming the streets in search of food or kindness. Friends have warned me that there are many stray animals in India. This may be a silly fear to most people, yet I know it will impact me on an emotional level, and that is hard. I want to save them all and can’t.
Fear #3: flying. Another of my embarrassments – I am afraid of flying. Like all flying. Not a good trait for someone who flies 100,000 miles a year, you know? We didn’t fly at all when I was growing up; my first flight was when I was 21 years old, and I hated it. I became accustomed to air travel after many years, then had two traumatic experiences very close together that jump started some lovely panic attacks. This kind of leads to a double fear: flying, and having a panic attack on the plane. What if I lose it halfway over the Atlantic and can’t board the second or third legs of my flights? Really hoping for non-turbulent flights and patient seatmates.
Fear #4: the unknown. I’m a planner. For this journey, there isn’t much inside my control. I have no idea what my day-to-day will look like and that is really difficult. Outwardly I appear to go with the flow. Internally it drives me bananas. How well will I cope when I have no clue what to expect?
Well, now that I’ve considered my fears, I realize that #1-3 are really all part of #4. I have no ability to directly help people or animals. I have no control over the flights. I feel powerless and unsettled. That alone gives this control freak a chance to grow, right? I may end up walking around Chennai singing “Let it Go” from Frozen. Letting go of all I can’t control…