In a month and a few days, I will be travelling to Peru with my best friend. We will spend two weeks there exploring the Andes and Machu Picchu, looking through markets, trying new foods, speaking with locals, hiking though canyons. We will figure out hostel situations and work through bus schedules. We will experience altitude. We will do all of these things that we have done before and love all the more because of it.
We love it. Our explorer hearts rejoice in this kind of thing.
But with the announcement of our summer plans comes the usual, well-meaning questions.
But aren’t you scared to travel just the two of you? Are your worried that the hostels won’t be very nice? Are you concerned about safety?
The answer is yes, but we dare to go anyway. Let me explain why.
There is this quote by Donald Miller that I love:
The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is “Do not fear.” It is in there over two hundred times. That means a couple things, if you think about it. It means we are going to be afraid, and it means we shouldn’t let fear boss us around.
No one should deny that travel (especially travel to foreign countries) can be scary, and it’s scary for a reason. There are legitimate dangers that need to be considered, and I do not want to minimize that in any way. Nevertheless, I argue that these fears/dangers/scary things should never keep us away from travel as a whole.
Fear should not rule our lives. If fear ruled my life, I would never have gone to Mexico with a group of 40 strangers. I wouldn’t have planned a trip to Colombia and Ecuador for me and my best friend. I wouldn’t have traveled alone to Colombia to teach English. I wouldn’t be planning for Peru this summer. But I dared to. I dared to take the risks. I dared to talk to strangers. I dared to try new things. I dared to be friends with people very different than me.
Can we be even more real about this for a second? If I let fear rule my life, I honestly doubt I would ever leave my room. Fear is real and crippling. I can look back and see many times in my life that I allowed it to control me, and those were not pretty times. Fear is real and scary. Fear itself is scary.
But you know the thing about fear? Even when we cannot get rid of it (if anyone has figured out a way to do this please let me know, because I haven’t been able to do that yet), we can look that fear in the face and dare to step beyond it.
Dare to live life in spite of fear.
Dare to travel.
Dare to make new friends.
Dare to speak in a new language.
Dare to explore a new place.
Dare to hike the mountain.
Dare to take the hard class.
Dare to speak up.
At the end of the day, dare to trust that there is a God who is greater than any fear we can ever encounter, and dare to believe that He wants you to live a life bigger than that fear.
Photo above: reaching the glacier on Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador. Elevation apprx. 16,000ft.