The Fear of Nothing

After getting hit by a mammoth truck last Monday, following the ‘did that just happen?’ shock, the anger that the driver didn’t stop and the gratitude that I got off with a few light scrapes, a bruised arm and a really sore neck, brought me to the inevitable moment of inner evaluation. The potential dangers of cycling the world alone are very real. The next time, I could be in Turkey or India, far from help and home.

Just a week before the hit-and-run, I was talking with a friend about the cycle and she asked me, ‘Aren’t you afraid?’

‘Afraid of what?’ I replied. Perhaps I got my answer. Now that I know what being hit by a 10-ton-truck feels like (the slow-motion, life-flashing-before-your-eyes moment is a fib), that’s one fear I can tick off the list. For the rest, well, if it comes, it comes and you can only face it when it does.

I have always believed that fearing the unknown is a futile waste of energy, sleep and good digestion. One can plan for every possible risk, inevitability and outcome, but if that truck’s gonna hit you, all the planning in the world won’t make a difference. Of course the alternative is to stay home in a familiar environment of safe predictability and never venture far for fear of the myriad dangers lurking, but then none of us would do anything at all and what’s the point of being alive?

A worried friend commented on Facebook, ‘I hope this doesn’t stop your trip.’ After evaluating whether the risks are worth the outcome, my reply to him still holds. Not a chance! My only real fear would have to be a lifetime of doing nothing at all.