The Excuse Counter

When I think of courage, and probably when you think of courage, too, some similar images come to mind:

Lions.

Firefighters.

Soldiers.

But travelers? Really? However, lately since I’ve been home, when I tell people about all the cool stuff I got to see and do while abroad for the semester, they respond with “Oh, how admirable! How fearless of you! How wonderful!” And then I got to thinking. Maybe traveling also, in and of itself, demands quite a level of courage alongside its much more prestigious counterparts.

When deciding to study abroad, and many of my other trips as well, I never even felt like I ever had a choice. This is because I know myself, and when I get an idea in my head, even just a tiny inkling of Oh, maybe I should give this a shot, I know I have to do it or else I’ll regret it forever. I’ll always wonder what if and it’ll kill me a lot quicker than a downed plane or a nasty gypsy or living under a bridge when I lose my wallet ever would. Instead, I just shrug my shoulders, take a deep breath, sign my name, and hope for my best.

However, possibly for me but most definitely for more psychologically sound persons, traveling is courageous. To give up everything you know and love, to get on a plane with people you don’t know or barely know (yet), to learn a language, to try food you can’t pronounce and may or may not have eyes, to fit everything that means anything to you into a backpack but also remain detached enough to understand something will probably happen to it. This is a different kind of courage, alongside its calling.

There are millions of people out there who have dreams of seeing the world, who define themselves as being “aspiring world travelers,” but will never even apply for their passport. There are millions more who will always say next year, when I have more money, when the kids are grown, when the house is sold. These are excuses. An excuse that carries the same weight as one from someone who won’t take out the trash or won’t go to the gym.

Lots of people spend their lives standing in line for the excuse counter. Get out of line.

The Excuse Line

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