Numinous

NUMINOUS (adj.)
Origin: Latin. Describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted- the powerful, personal feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired.

I love to travel and have travelled regularly since I was 3 months old.
Why is it that every time I arrive in a new place I have a moment of terror, almost bursting into tears, doubting my choices and my travelling ability?

Whenever I have time and money, the first thing I do is figure out which country I can visit for the money and time frame I have to work with. I book my ticket and am all excited.

I pack my bag and just before I jump on the plane, there’s a little bit of doubt creeping in.

I land at my destination, all confident, I grab my bag, pass through customs and then it hits me, racing through my mind are a series of questions:

  • How will I communicate with people?
  • How will I be able to organize transport, where will I find the information I need?
  • What if the accommodation is horrible and cockroach infested?
  • What if I can’t figure out what is in the food, and don’t find anything edible?
  • What if I get harassed?
  • What if my stuff gets stolen?
  • I don’t remember ever having done these things before, did someone do them for me, was I just the tag-along?

Then my reasoning brain starts to kick in with answers like:

  • You have common sense and experience
  • You did some research already
  • You have a lonely planet guide
  • You have wifi
  • If the accommodation is rubbish, just check out and go elsewhere (and leave an honest review on tripadvisor)
  • You can eat vegetarian food if you are that worried
  • You can use drawings and hand signals if language is an issue (this was how I figured out I had eaten cows testicles in china)
  • You have never lost anything ever, have never had things stolen and besides, you have travel insurance
  • You are the driving force and decision maker in almost every holiday you have been on
  • You have done this before, countless times – deal with it already!

Having this experience you look around and think everyone else looks so confident and that you are the only person feeling this way. But in fact, chances are that most people are feeling the same way you do and to them you probably look like the confident one.

To grow in life and have meaningful experiences we must continually challenge ourselves, and not give in to doubts. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave (wo)man is not (s)he who does not feel afraid but who conquers that fear” Nelson Mandela.
So after the moment of panic you just say to yourself “I got this!”

In the moments where you once again feel the doubt creeping in, then it’s worth remembering the Irish proverb: “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.”

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