As I write this I am sitting on a bus, traveling from Ivalo to Rovaniemi, two areas in Lapland, Finland. I had been dreaming of visiting Lapland since I can remember (let’s be real, honestly probably since I saw a picture of it on Instagram). The white snow reflected against the northern lights. The idea of being in the Arctic Circle and that it’s dark for 24-hours! Snowmobiling and husky rides! The opportunities for winter fun seemed to be endless!
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
Booking my trip through Finland – and truthfully throughout the rest of Europe thus far – has not only fueled by excitement but fear! Fear of the unknown! What if my plane gets canceled? What if I don’t have WiFi and I can’t find where I’m going? What if the only bus that leaves this tiny village the entire day doesn’t show up? What if I get laughed at for eating alone? What if, what if, what if?!
These past three weeks have flown by. And have been such a blessing. I’ve learned so much about myself! Learning to sit in the silence, and to enjoy my own company. Learning different cultures and traditions and ways of doing things. I’ve learned that some people around the world are jerks, but most will surprise you in the best way! That if you take the time to listen and learn, you yourself will grow more than you thought possible.
One of the biggest lessons in the past three weeks has been tackling my fear of the unknown. What exactly does that mean and why does it matter? For me, fear of the unknown is a bit debilitating. Arguing with myself… should I really go that far north into Finland? Should I really take that budget airline when they have a reputation for always canceling flights? I truthfully sat at my computer for eight-hours one day while planning my trip to Finland, just to go in circles due to fear! After it was all over I had exhausted myself and wasted a perfectly good day just to worry about the “what ifs”.
REPLACING FEAR WITH TRUST
So while I am sitting on this bus, the one I SWORE would never show up. And even though I wasn’t able to buy a ticket online… I had to wait to see if there was room on the bus and buy in person. Not even knowing where the bus stop was in order to get to my next remote destination, I got to thinking about trust. And why we should all learn to trust the process. So what if I miss my bus? What is the absolute worse thing to happen? I am still alive, happy, and healthy! And I spend another day just where I am. I’ve learned to trust the people around me! Take their advice; listen to what they have to say. Although I am traveling solo, I’m never truly alone. It’s the people who have and will get me from one place to the next.
So for the next few months, or however long I last on this trip, I am letting go of my fear of the unknown. And instead, I am taking up trust. Trust in God, trust in humanity, and trust that I am in the place that I am meant to be in. Even if my plans seem to get derailed! At least it would make for a good travel story later….
To read about Traveling with Loneliness, click here.