Fear.  It is an undeniable, inescapable part of living life.  Some people fear spiders.  Others fear germs.  There are as many fears in the world as there are things in the world.  That is just the reality.  Thus, traveling is the same.  Fear.

When I was being driven to the airport I was deathly afraid.  I asked myself: “Can you do this?”  “Do you want to do this?”  “Are you really fucking doing this!?”  Beads of sweat rolled down my forehead and my heart pounded.  I chatted about meaningless things with my parents.  I even fought with them about international politics.  INTERNATIONAL POLITICS!  I got a haircut.  Why?  I don’t know.  All I know is that I couldn’t stop thinking about, questioning and second-guessing the decision Shay and I had made and the journey we were about to take.  Fear.

It was not a unique fear, though.  I felt the same paralyzing fear and anxiety when I was leaving for Ireland and that was for only three and a half months.  Fear.

And, this was all only leading up to saying goodbye to my parents.  I have never felt so small, young, and childlike.  I didn’t want to let go of them when I hugged them.  I wanted them to stop me, to demand that I do not take the flight, to take me back to the safety, comfort and normalcy of my life at the time.  Fear.

What is the point of this confession about my/our fears?  The point is this:

Moving abroad/away, and/or traveling to a different extent, is not an easy thing.  It will not be easy.  You will be scared.  Everyone I have talked to was and/or is.  But, that is normal.  Moving halfway around the world is a damn scary thing.  It should be.  The real test is how one stands up to that fear.  Some people, ourselves included at points, give in and choose to stay with the norm.  It is easier.  Change is hard.

Compound that fact with the fact that we moved to the other side of the planet carrying about $140,000 in debt and it is truly terrifying.  Some may even go so far as to say it is dumb and irresponsible.  What we say, though, is that facing that fear and jumping in the deep end is the most pure, exhilarating and educational experience you will ever experience, even if you were to do it, hate it and move back.

Living here in in Taipei for the last year and re-living the fear that gripped us as we rode in our respective cars to the airport is eye-opening.  Fear is an essential and, seemingly, universal part of traveling, moving abroad/away and, for that matter, anything one does in life that is life changing.

For us, the truth is this; once you’ve realized the fear of traveling and/or moving away is trumped by the beauty of being abroad, the rest is history.


{As a quick aside, this being our second post, I just want to comment and say that we are approaching our first year here (two days to go) and, therefore, our blog will be reflecting on the past, the present and the future.  Regardless, we hope you enjoy it as much as we have/are.}

If anyone has any impressive stories about facing your fears, please share below!


9 thoughts on “Fear.

  1. So true! It’s rough. But I find it’s the transition periods when I feel fear the most. Once I’m some place for a day or 2 I forget the fear – until I make my next move. Glad I found your blog! Sounds interesting!

  2. Hi Joy, thanks for reading! I agree, thinking about transitioning into a new environment can be worrisome and nerve-wracking at times. But once you finally do it, you realize how manageable and exciting it is to adapt to your new surroundings. I thinks it’s the first big leap away from home that’s the most difficult fear to overcome. Once you conquer this, you’re free as a bird.

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  5. Definitely agree with your description of fear. Fear can be a motivator or a stopper. Conquering fear can be a great milestone in life though. I wish you the bet on your journey!

    • Thanks, Andy. Once you conquer one fear it only becomes easier, and life becomes more exciting and enjoyable. While staying within your comfort zone may work for some, it’s not for us. It definitely can be terrifying at times to be away from what you know and what’s familiar, but ultimately you will soar. There’s so much in the world to be seen and experienced, why settle already?

  6. Zach and Shay, just read your latest post. I agree with you-facing your fears is one of the hardest things to do in life. We all face moments in life when we must make a choice and often the choices involve something we are afraid of. As a parent this usually means seeing your children grow up and leave the safety of the home. Seeing you and Shay off was harder than anything we have ever done- and it doesn’t get easier with the passing of time. See you both soon. Dad

  7. Zach,
    This is great! I think it is a perfect idea to both help you remember and share your experiences with family/friends. Look forward to seeing
    you both. Love ya, Aunt Sue

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