The fear of backpacking is a big reason why some will never take the plunge. Today, I’m going to break those fears down and show you why they shouldn’t stop you from backpacking or pursuing anything else worth doing in your life.
For this purpose, I want to share our own background and personal lives. This is important, because what we’ve been through allows us to see the world in a bit of a different light. Not only that, but hopefully it will help you realize that your fears are unfounded and should never stop you from following your passions.
My father grew up an orphan, never having experienced the luxuries of life that were afforded to me during my upbringing. He spent his younger years growing up in The Black Mountains in North Carolina. It’s a beautiful area filled with some of Mother Nature’s most spectacular views.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have much time to focus on the landscape unless he was maintaining it around the orphanage. The caretakers were much more strict back then, so his days were packed with chores, such as milking the cows and cleaning up after the rest of the livestock. There was no backtalk or there were harsh consequences and punishments. He had no mother and father to take pity on his reasonings or disagreements. He spent his entire life working his fingers to the bone, because that was all he knew.
My childhood years, on the other hand, were filled with toys and video games, friendships and campouts. I never knew his struggle, but I do know that because of it, I was gifted an easy route. Spoiled rotten and always loved. My dad was not the easiest person to grow up with, but he provided without fail. The year before I was born (one year from the day, to be precise), my oldest brother passed away. I came along the following August, on the anniversary of his death. These circumstances became the foundation of sheltering that my mother still clings to in my 30s.
When I was a teenager, my two best friends died within months of each other.
Lance, the older of the two and a person I admired deeply, was killed in a vehicle collision while he and his mother were on their way to pick up his younger siblings from their dad’s house. They were both pronounced dead at the scene of the wreckage. Typically, I would always make this trip with them. His mother might as well have been my own, and she would call me to ride along with her, even if Lance was at work and couldn’t tag along. For whatever reason, I was not on board during this fateful day.
My other best friend, Dustin, met his end during a fire in his home shortly after the shock to my system written above took place. We had been friends since Kindergarten and I still have our class picture from that year, complete with Mickey Mouse belt buckle and all. Not to shame my dearly departed friend, the buckle was mine. Regardless, Dustin’s untimely death would send a once outgoing and social smart-ass spiraling into a shell that wouldn’t open until years later, once the sulking and sadness of depression had finally subsided.
Somewhere in the not so distant future, my now partner in crime and love of my life (Bailey) would tangle with her own version of teenage turmoil.
By the time she was seventeen, both of her parents had been taken from her. Bailey’s father would struggle for years with Huntington’s before ultimately slipping away. The year before he passed, her mother had reached a mental breaking point under constant stress and took her own life.
We share these tragic parts of our lives to show you that fear is not an option. Standing still is not living. If you aren’t doing what’s good for your soul, you are serving an injustice to those not fortunate enough to make the journey. Do not be driven by insecurities and uncertainties, because that electrical fire could burn and that car could crash. That crippling disease could be waiting in the wings, so do not turn a blind eye to living life to the fullest. If you have an inkling of an interest, make the leap to see it through.
This backpacking thing? It’s small change in big pockets. Whether you’re afraid of going solo, terrified of the dark, or worried about the wildlife that has been wandering and roaming beside us since the dawn of man, your fears are a needle in a haystack. You’re much more likely to meet your demise in the center of the city than beneath a million stars in the serenity of a peaceful forest.
Be brave and bold, blunt and bullheaded, because this beautiful ride will stop on a dime without a moment’s notice. If there’s anything you’ve been putting off, I urge you to throw caution to the wind and do what inspires you.
There’s a quote that I live by, not in the literal sense, but as a metaphor for grabbing life by the horns whenever self-doubt creeps up in my mind:
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats
I try to instill this quote throughout my life on a regular basis. There was a time when I couldn’t be bothered to care about life, until I realized that both of my friends would kick me in the balls if they could see me wallowing and grieving. They would have told me to get my punk ass up and go do something productive. I have no doubt that both of them would be out there hoisting the black flag and slitting throats if they were still here. They were of the entrepreneur state of mind, and there I was, wasting my health and keeping my sword sheathed.
Not today, my friends. Today, I’m a swashbuckling son of a gun. Johnny Depp would piss his pirate pants attempting to stand in my way.
I encourage you to join us and leave your fears in the dust, because all they’ll do is hold you back when you should be on the attack. Take action in your life, do not go gentle into that good night. Instead, roar through it with ferocity and make it remember your name.
If you’d like to share your own reason for what’s been holding back or something that has made you fearless, please do so in the comments below. We’d love to hear your story!