© 2019 by Isabelle Tschugmall
Switzerland & Botswana / isa@inthemiddle.company

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Aren't you scared?

February 21, 2019

 

I've been asked this question a lot lately. Sometimes under the form of: "Are clients that come with on safari never afraid of the animals?”

I must admit that I was afraid prior to my first trip to the African bush. Especially because of the uncertainty as to what to expect since I had never been to Africa before.I panicked every evening in the week before I left. I had been convinced that a scorpion would sting me and I would die. I wasn’t going to die because of an attack by a big animal, no, I was going to die because a small, insidious animal that was going to poison me.

As in life, it is sometimes the little things that torment us more than the big ones. So, I spent days and nights worrying. Oh my God, what am I going to do when something like this happens? What am I going to tell people at home? how embarrassing would that be to be, to be beaten by such a small animal?

 Well, actually this is no longer the case. But at that time, my worry, yes, it went beyond death... My fears and mental blocks dominated my thoughts and stole precious time, snuck quietly into my life and took up so much space that it almost overtook all my excitement for my upcoming African journey.

 

And then I arrived in the bush and I felt so at home, liberated and simply connected. All those worries for nothing, all that time wasted with only the grey hairs as a reminder that in the end as I let myself realize that this was my new, liberating life. One of the best things that could have happen to me. This event made it clear once more that my mind doesn’t always work to my advantage. I smiled while I realized this and wrote this realisation down in my diary of a-ha-moments so that I can challenge my mind to think positively during future difficult times.

 

It is interesting to reflect as to why our mind doesn’t interpret the words ‘no fear’ as something positive…NO fear. But too often we focus is on ‘fear’ as the main thought and forget about the ‘no’ preceding it. Our choice of words can greatly influence our thinking. And so it is with knowledge as well. The more knowledge we have, the greater the possibility that our thought patterns will change. In the bush I learned so much about nature and animals that it allowed me to get rid of my fear and pure fascination started to fill my life. Knowledge is indeed power. As soon as I understood that a certain spider species does not "wander", but stays with its nest and only attacks when it has to protect its eggs, I lost my fear and gained respect for the little creature. So, the spider and I could live harmoniously in my tent and I didn't have to turn on the light all the time to make sure she really stayed in her place. I learned to even trust an animal. The animals do not "walk" around in the bush all day and constantly kill each other.

This fear of the wilderness is surely partly due to our basic instinct for survival and protection and partly the result of our lack of knowledge about nature. This should not be an obstacle, but we should see it much more as a chance. A huge chance to rediscover this new world.

 

My greatest fear is actually to stop too much. In nature everything is constantly changing, be it the seasons, the migrations of animals or new species that we discover. I have the feeling that I will never stop learning. I am allowed to stop at one place and still progress. I am not afraid of dying and I am also not afraid of life. I am allowed to be in the now, but still look to the future and wonder about so many things. Above all, I think that I feel almost no more fear in life, because I was allowed to develop a basic trust. The basic trust in myself, the good and in life as it was meant to be. I won't always succeed, but I will do so more and more often.

 

Now I may address the question to you: AREN'T you scared?

 

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