I’m not generally a person who is afraid of much. And for most things that instill just a little bit of trepidation, I generally don’t let them interfere. Except with my fear of falling. I have tried to kick its butt for many years, and I’ve yet to be completely successful. Ativan helps me do some things I couldn’t do otherwise, but even that wasn’t strong enough to allow me to parasail with Tigger during his birthday celebration.
Some people laugh when they hear I’m afraid to participate in such gravity-defying feats. “But, Talon, you’re a diver. And you dive in wrecks which is even more dangerous!” Yeah, but that isn’t falling. That is PTSD-related. I have finally come to terms that I’m probably not going to get past that one. But, hey, even Superman has his Kryptonite, no?
So yeah I’ve left the States and traveled with my son through something like 10 countries in the past 1-1/2 years, including living for eight months in one of the more dangerous countries in the world right now. No problem. So why am I feeling so intimidated by Europe, a place that I feel incredibly connected to?
It comes down to money. So far we have been living in relatively inexpensive to downright cheap Latin America. I’ve enjoyed being able to do a fairly minimal amount of work to earn enough for us to be comfortable. We’ve been able to enjoy some fun activities (paragliding, parasailing, shark diving) and have been able to fly to some places rather than spend 2-3 days on a bus.
While I’ve never been one who had my eyes set on a luxury holiday in Africa (although wouldn’t that be amazing?), I do have dreams of living in Paris for a month at least. When I mention to people we’re going to Europe, the first thing they do is purse their lips and say “Expensive!” Yeah, it has me a little freaked out.
When I went to Paris, I did manage to do quite well with my budget, but I also wasn’t trying to do it on $30 a day for two people. Luckily we can handle living in some pretty humble circumstances, which might make this work out, but I’m also not holding my breath. Friends have told me that Bulgaria and some other non-Schengen countries are pretty affordable, so this may be our saving grace.
I have also checked into doing an exchange through HelpX. I’m actually really excited about this. You can volunteer on farms, at hostels and B&B’s, etc., for a few hours a day in exchange for lodging and often food. Many of them are in rural villages which is something I would really enjoy. I would gain some great experience in some areas, and it would be a phenomenal experience for Tigger. Many of the exchanges are with families which would really enhance the overall experience.
In the end, I’ll get past this feeling. In spite of my financial concerns, I am excited to get to Europe and to some place vastly different from the cultures we’ve been experiencing for the last almost 500 days. And it brings us that much closer to Africa and Asia! If we have to break up our European travels to go to places that are less expensive, well, there’s no harm in that. The world is, after all, our oyster. Having no itinerary and no deadline is part of the true freedom that I so thoroughly enjoy. And, frankly, I’m kind of looking forward to the challenge of making it work. Like I’ve said before, I believe in creating my own reality. So bring it on Europe! And maybe I’ll just say the same about that fancy Africa experience, too.
–In collaboration with Exsus.