I travel to escape the inbreeding of fear

Nias Island-Sumatra-Indonesia
Should I fear this greeting?

For some reason travel to escape is seen as a bad thing. Like you are a coward and can’t cut it in the real world.

If that is the case, I will proudly write here on this blog that I can’t cut it in the real world.

And I sure as hell don’t want to.

Why?

Because the real world is mean and stingy and cruel. It’s full of rules and limitations of dream stealers and naysayers. People intent on tearing into you and tearing you down just because you dared to make your life count.

My negativity and cynicism stems from what?

A shitty arse bad couple of weeks online. I’ve been appalled and flabbergasted at the nastiness and cruelty that has been going on. Virtual strangers attacked as a form of welcome into a forum group, for innocently not following the rules they knew nothing about.

To women who have an online voice being insulted and demeaned and bitched about in private forum groups. To judging and criticising others for what they choose to do with their life and abusing for bloody spelling mistakes.

I’m exhausted. And once again that knot of angst has appeared. That place where I pace the floor and wring my hands, and pull the hairs on my head.

“I’ve got to leave. I’ve got to get out of here right now.” I start hatching the plans of where I could go, how much I could pack in my suitcase, how much money I have and how long it will last.

Escape, escape escape.

Return to the place where the only thing that matters is the story that you have to share right now.

I’m not interested in the colour of your skin, who you choose to share your bed with, what you do for a living, who you pray to at night, whether you’re toeing the blogger ethical lines (like whom makes up that shit anyway), or the mistakes you made in your past.

All I care about is you. Who are you? Where do you come from? What makes you laugh? Can I make you laugh? Can you make me laugh? Share something you love about your culture. Why? What don’t you like? Why? Why do you prostate like that when you pray? Who are your Gods?

How do you celebrate? How do you love? How do you raise your children? Do they light up your world like mine do? Would you die for them? Do you lie under the stars at night and marvel at their beauty? How do you catch fish? What do you think about my culture? Do you like beer?

Conversations, laughter and the connecting of two kindred spirits no matter how far apart our life choices may seem.

Questions, not so I can use the answers as a weapon to destroy in order to make myself feel better, but so I can learn and grow. Because I believe you have something to teach me. I believe our conversation can take away the fear. The fear that society inbreeds in me that I should feel for you.

Travel takes away the fear

The fear that evaporated that evening, where in remote village in Sumatra we were welcomed into a family’s home to celebrate their son’s wedding to his Muslim bride. They danced in circles, sang, stared at our white skin in wonder, and gave us shots of banana whiskey.

The fear that was dissipated when Mary, on the first day of my new school in a foreign land invited me back to her place for Friday wine night and Hitesh, a stranger managing the apartments we were viewing, guided us to what would become our home and then invited us for drinks in his. Friends now forever. Phew Americans are really nice.

The fear that was dispelled on the evening under the stars when the Masai warrior explained how to become a man he had to be circumcised and find his way back home to the village after healing himself in the middle of the savannah. Right after how he explained how he killed a leopard as part of that initiation. (one of the coolest conversations ever. Like a child who herad her first fairy tale.)

The fear that melted away when my friend’s gay workmates took us out for a night in Soho, London. We were the only straight women in the male-dominated bar. We were well looked after and not hit on once.

The fear that solidified into belief when entrepreneurs I just met stopped to share with me how they did it. You mean I can too?

The fear that changed to power when I learned from the Turkish people and Nelson Mandela that contrition, humility and forgiveness is the best way to heal and move forward.

The fear that died when my new Swedish rock climbing friend made me see that I was not so bad and I no longer had to hide in the shadows from myself.

Travel stole all the fear away with the smiles of strangers, the kindness of their deeds, the warmth of their invitations to peek into their lives for a few moments, the laughter and the slaps on the back, the cuddles from their sweet children.

Have I forgotten my travel lessons?

I’ve been asking myself all day why I let these things upset me so much, especially when I’m not really involved. Why can’t I just let it go? Why should I worry about what others choose to do as long as I am being true to me and others?

Maybe I’m not. Maybe I need to look at myself more. How am I not being nice? How am I not embracing differences? If I look deep enough I’ll find instances where I have not been the best I could be, where I’m not being an example of all I have learned.

Which makes me want to escape even more. Because I’m better when I’m in not in that space occupied by society.

What we are validating for our children

Ellen said it best the other day on her show where she spoke of bullying and the nastiness that is prevalent among our children. So bad that others take their life. Imagine. My heart dies with the thought, especially knowing that could be my child.

She said she didn’t understand how people could be so mean and so cruel and so heartless. How could they not be evolved enough to understand that we are on the same journey together and so we need to hold each other’s hands not break them?

Our children learn this from us. The adults, the ones who are supposed to teach them to BE KIND, to raise them as decent people. We may think that our children won’t learn from us if we gossip behind closed doors and sit in the privacy of Facebook groups to bully others, or if we abuse strangers for no other reason that they look, or think differently. Our children learn the behaviours. They feel the energy, the absorb everything we do and we create a society that validates fear, judgement and meanness and that makes me want to escape.

I want to go to the place where I learned that tolerance and compassion is the only way we can make our world better. It is the only place where I can open my heart and mind to someone different, and say,

“I like you just because. I want to hear about your life just because. I don’t fear you because I believe you have something to teach me and just because your different to me doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me or you.”

Do you travel to escape?

P.S Tomorrow we are escaping to Port Maquarie for the long weekend. I’m hoping to get my head together so I can believe in the goodness of people again.

 

 

Caz
Caz Makepeace is the co-founder of y Travel Blog and has been traveling the world since 1997, first solo, then with her husband, and now with her two daughters. Get her free email series on the 4 best ways to reduce travel costs. Follow her on Google+

35 Comments on “I travel to escape the inbreeding of fear”

  1. People are good, but people are also unfulfilled, suffering and egoic. Travel is a great way to disconnect from this negativity (if you actually, literally, disconnect!) but you need to go no further than yourself to know that people are good. Your good. Your family is good. :)

    Have a great weekend break!
    Caanan @ No Vacation Required recently posted..The Toxic Trio
    Caanan @ No Vacation Required recently posted..The Toxic Trio

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    • Thank you Caanan! There are a lot of good people in the world and its great to have people like you around and all those in our community who are so lovely and kind and doing GREAT Things for the world

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  2. Thank you for writing this, Caz. I don’t know exactly what it was you saw that sparked this, but I did see a string of comments in a group last night that really bothered me. Too many people being judgmental and criticizing others just because they do things differently. It’s exhausting. I try not to read too much of that stuff and I definitely try not to get involved because it sucks away too much of my energy which is better spent on other things.

    Travel really is so wonderful for so many reasons. There is a lot of fear in the world, and seeing other places with your own eyes is a great way to get rid of that fear. The world is a beautiful place, and there’s no use wasting our time on jerks who want to bring others down.

    I hope you have a great weekend away and that it helps you recharge.
    Ali recently posted..In the Heat in Rotorua
    Ali recently posted..In the Heat in Rotorua

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    • A lot of it this past week has been in the Mummmy blogging community but I’ve seen a bit in the travel blogging as well. People are just so mean and judgemental. And it is exhausting. I’m trying to keep away from it as well. The weekend was fab thanks Ali. Nothing like travel to make you feel good.

      Reply
  3. I really relate to this post, because sometimes it is just so damn hard to overlook all the nastiness in the world (kids bullying other kids, genocide and mass rape in the Congo, hatred for others based on nothing but ignorance and fear, etc., etc., etc….).

    But there are also so many people that are doing great things, and every time I see a person acting out of compassion it gives me hope.

    And I definitely think it’s necessary to periodically recharge so you can continue being a positive force, so I hope you’re able to find some peace and rejuvenation this weekend!
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Is Visiting Halong Bay (Vietnam) Worth it When the Weather is Terrible?
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Is Visiting Halong Bay (Vietnam) Worth it When the Weather is Terrible?

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    • I found it Christy! So Thank you. I hate it when I go through those moments of fear and anger at the world. Getting away from it always helps me to re see what is so wonderful about it. We have to focus on the good.

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  4. Justine de Jonge

    Thank you for such a blunt, confronting and honest post.

    I travel to escape but I also travel to educate myself about my world, my fellow humans and what my news/government/mainstream is not teaching me. I also like to return to Australia and prove to people around me that their conceptions, ignorance and prejudices are just wrong.

    I remember when I jetted off to the Middle East a couple of years ago I was taken aback by some of the reactions I received: “Really?”, “Oh…”, “Why are you going there?”. The responses became even more mind-boggling when I returned and I started learning Arabic. “Why on earth would you do that?” I used to play tricks on them and say “So I can convert to Islam” and then I’d really see their true colours!

    I absolutely love being able to tell people that my experiences in the Middle East were life-changing (for the better). But I did get depressed when I’d encounter the type of ignorance that lets us down as Australians, and as human beings.

    Travel overall has also taught me perspective and priority, and it pains me to see such a lack of perspective and priority here in my own country. We know we’re lucky, but we just don’t understand HOW lucky we truly are. Without travel, I think I’d be one of those stupid, ignorant people. And I’m proud not to be in that group.
    Justine de Jonge recently posted..Hitching a ride on the Murchison
    Justine de Jonge recently posted..Hitching a ride on the Murchison

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    • Wow. I would love to sit down and hear your stories of living in the Middle East. It would be so fascinating to hear. How lucky you are to have that experience and for it to change your thoughts so much. Shame that others can’t appreciate that and form viewpoints on others basesd a on just what they see in the news

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  5. Firstly, some huge cyber hugs to you Caz.

    We certainly are traveling to escape and I see no shame in admitting that.

    Like you Caz, my thoughts on what people think or say about me hurt and affect me more than I would like. One thing I hope to work on while away (amongst many other things).

    I truly hope we get to sit down and have a real conversation one day over a glass of wine. You speak straight to my heart.

    Our family all live in Port Macquarie. We often use PM as a source of respite so I believe you are heading in the right direction to get the much needed relief. Wishing you a great long weekend.

    Seeing as we leave (Newcastle) on Sunday for our big adventure we will endeavour to meet you all along our travels somewhere at some stage.

    Take care,
    Cindy
    Cindy – Lemonade From Lemons recently posted..Who are we ?
    Cindy – Lemonade From Lemons recently posted..Who are we ?

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    • Oh I’d love to sit and chat over a glass of wine. One of my favourite things to do! PM was wonderful and helped to get me feeling good about the world again. Such a special place

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  6. Thanks for an insightful post.
    Taking off to travel in a “farewell cruel world” kind of way is always a preferred option, except in most cases we have to come back to the cruel world at some stage!
    I think you delved to the depths of escape, travel lessons learnt and reasons behind fear, in this piece and I connected on lots of levels.
    Being a kind, generous human being, well versed in humility and compassion should be what we all aspire to – then there would be no misunderstandings or wars or cruel FB groups.
    Johanna recently posted..3 Awesome Gorges in The Kimberley.
    Johanna recently posted..3 Awesome Gorges in The Kimberley.

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    • I think I get so upset by the meanness that comes from other travellers especially because I have this belief that they should know better. Maybe a silly belief to have and maybe travel just can’t change some people.

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  7. Really great stuff Caz. I don’t heap much in the way of comments, but this is great. If there is anything that travel should be promoted for is its ability to wash away fear and ignorance.
    If there was anything that travel can help with to make the world a better place is to level the playing field of life across all borders.
    Kurt recently posted..New York City – Not Just the Destination but How You Get There
    Kurt recently posted..New York City – Not Just the Destination but How You Get There

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    • I love that Kurt- level the playing field of life across all borders! Gold Thanks for popping out ot comment

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  8. I am travelling because I need it more than air! I need to be in a place that feels right, and be happy within. If that means getting away from it all then so be it. I am proud that I no longer want the normal lifestyle, and I am so proud that I chose this new way of living.
    Now if only we can travel heaps more than I will be even more happier. I am amazed with how mean some people can be! I still dont get why they think bullying (online/offline) is ok? Some people need a good slap!
    Lisa Wood recently posted..Smile and The World Smiles With You
    Lisa Wood recently posted..Smile and The World Smiles With You

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    • I need it more than air too. Glad someone else feels the same way! There’s nothing more libearting then living a life of your own design it just immmediately makes you nicer and happier

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  9. Veronica @ Mixed Gems

    All *those* type of things upset me too probably because of the same sentiment echoed by Ellen. Why can’t people be nicer, more tolerant, more understanding, agree to disagree respectfully instead of tearing another down, as if trampling another underfoot makes us more powerful. It just makes us bullies. For me, the idea of travel is not only a reprieve and escape but really a way of opening our eyes to the big wide world out there. It takes us from the immediacy of things that sometimes matter little in the scheme of life and shows us new things to care about. I’m old enough to remember an tv show from the mid 70s that I loved as a kid called “Big Blue Marble”. I don’t know if you know it but it really opened my eyes as a young child to the world. I still remember the theme song! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Blue_Marble)
    Veronica @ Mixed Gems recently posted..Carpe Diem
    Veronica @ Mixed Gems recently posted..Carpe Diem

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    • Ellen is so wonderful as she is really trying to make a difference and encourage people to be kinder. To me it seems so simple and just kind of basic and natural behaviour. I’m so glad that I am not someone who is naturally mean. That is one tough and unhappy life

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  10. Caz, this is a very heartfelt post, and I hope that you have a peaceful weekend. It reminded me of this quote from the Dalai Lama, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Definitely something to live by!
    Susan recently posted..I Moved To Alaska!
    Susan recently posted..I Moved To Alaska!

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    • I love his quotes. That one reminds me of this “If you have a problem and there is a solution, then don’t worry. If you have a problem and there is no solution then what is the point of worrying.

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  11. I have to admit that I do not read or watch the news (even before I started traveling long-term) because I don’t like the negativity and feel that things are often blown way out of proportion. If something big or important happens, I will hear about it from people. That is how I escape.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Foto of the Week from Sucre: The Mirador
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Foto of the Week from Sucre: The Mirador

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    • I feel sick any time I watch the news. I can feel the fear running through my body and the misery starting to set in. Best not to pay attention to it.

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  12. Don’t give up yet Caz because we are not all like that!

    P.S. I do like beer!
    Cole @ Four Jandals recently posted..Live Blogging from Rome – #fjROME
    Cole @ Four Jandals recently posted..Live Blogging from Rome – #fjROME

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  13. I really relate to your post, because there’s just so much injustice in the world, so much discrimination and unfairness. At the same time, the more I live, the more I discover amazing people who are all about empowering themselves and each other and making this world a better place, whether they do it on a large social scale or simply in their daily lives.

    I definitely understand the need to escape from the ache and the way things are all too dictating from outside and how society seems to not accept people who don’t fit the “norm” – even when the norm really does fit only a small group of people. AND I relate to the post because I read how much you don’t live this way, how much you care about people, about making this world a better place, and I think that’s a sort of an escape too – doing your thing anyway, following your dreams anyway, treating others as you’d like to be treated. I think that’s really powerful.
    Ayelet – All Colores recently posted..On the Way to Jerusalem’s Ice Festival: A Slight Error in Direction
    Ayelet – All Colores recently posted..On the Way to Jerusalem’s Ice Festival: A Slight Error in Direction

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    • Travel helps you to really love the world and understand how wonderful it is. You can be who ever you want when you travle and your past doesn’t matter which is so liberating. All that matters is who you are in the moment

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  14. Well said Caz, and I agree with everything you said. I think travelling can definitely be used as a tool for staying positive and learning about ourselves and others. Much more educational than bloody chat forums! x
    Jess recently posted..Wherever you are in the world…
    Jess recently posted..Wherever you are in the world…

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    • The chat forums are a nightmare!! I’m so over the childish behaviour that goes on in there. The travelling is so far more attractive

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  15. Thanks for opening up and sharing insights into some of the low moments we all confront from time to time even (or especially) within the travel community.
    Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Civil War Gets Real – Suchitoto, El Salvador
    Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Civil War Gets Real – Suchitoto, El Salvador

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  16. I don’t just travel to escape – I move!! lol
    Miss Britt recently posted..52 Things I’ve Learned from My Mom
    Miss Britt recently posted..52 Things I’ve Learned from My Mom

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  17. Hi Caz, love (and appreciate) this blog post. Had my fair share of “meanies” this month :-( Hope you have an awesome trip. If you and Craig ever decide to come back to Cape Town, South Africa again, contact me – would love to meet you and your family

    Reply
    • Oh the meanies are so mean!! I hope they have backed off now and have gone to look in the mirror to see if they like what they see. We will always find a way to return to Cape Town- magic!!

      Reply
  18. Becks Summers

    I couldn’t believe how true to the point this post actually was. Such an honest and heartfelt opinion. I’ve been told so many times, by friends of mine, that I’m running away or trying to escape everyday dramas that are part and parcel of life. I don’t understand how, by me wanting to explore a different country, a different culture far removed from my own, makes me seem like I’m running away? If anything, surely it’s about realising that, the stresses and unnecessary agro that people have in their lives, may not be enjoyed by everyone.
    I’d rather take a chance in life, even if it’s not something that my friends can relate too. To just live your life with no desire, or no curiosity as to what is out there, I believe is a waste. We’re surrounded by constant opinions, update’s of people’s private lives every second of the day, and actually we’ve forgotten how important it is to live out our experiences not other peoples.

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