Being a writer for a travel blog can be quite tricky. Everyone thinks you’re really strong or brave or very fit. It’s a tough battle to keep it real. Even tougher — to not submit to what works. Though, for a reader browsing through a post — in a couple of seconds — pictures speak more than 1000 words. And, pictures may not always capture fear, frustration, fights, or the exhaustion of a trip. They may fool you into believing in the existence of wonderland and you might lose the gist of the journey itself. Depending on what you choose to see or skip; a post, on a trip, can make a traveller larger than life. Strangely, when you  travel in real-time, you come to realise, how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things.

As landscapes unfold, people warm up, language fades away, elements take over, trails get forged, and gems of the past reveal themselves — you realise it’s perfectly okay to be scared. That’s what makes your stories interesting and relatable. Resilience isn’t about faking strength in the wake of fear. It’s holding your own, when you skip a beat or lose your breath and want to crumble to your knees. Or wish you hadn’t thought of being here or think this might just be the end of the road. That’s when you refuse to budge.  You refuse to give in. Resilience is staying put and facing your fear — no matter where or when it strikes. Knowing that you will  repeat it all over again, not because you’ve grown stronger, because you know you’ll find a way to get through.

Here are my top 5 fears. And each one of them stops me from exploring or seeing new places or meeting new people. I wish I could say it gets better with time or age or more travel. But, we’re in the New Year, and we want to be honest. It doesn’t get easier and there is no cure for who you are. You live with it, fight it, and hope that you meet the right partner to beat it!

1. Flights

Rear Window
Somewhere over Jeju

“The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”
― Douglas Adams

2. Heights

Eyeing Mt. Bukhansan, Seoul
Seoul Fortress Wall, Mt. Inwangsan, Seoul

I have a fear of heights that borders on mania.

Sylvester Stallone

3. Introversion

Cheonjeyeon Falls, Jeju
Olle Trail, Jeju

“Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe”
― Susan Cain

4. Crowds

Cast Away, Jeju
Deserted, Jeju

“God is silent. Now if only man would shut up.”
― Woody Allen

5. Food

King Prawn Pasta, Jeju
Dumplings (Mandu Feast), Jeju

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.”
― Sophia Loren

Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

56 replies on “Confessions of a Traveller

  1. These are some pretty awesome shots of the things you fear. Your art for finding the most awesome moment has overcome your fear on these. Nicely done. Resilient indeed.

      1. Ahh yes that. I am mostly vegan, vegetarian and it oresents many challenges while travelling. Oh yes. I try to pack as many treats of fruits and nuts etc to start with and search out for markets to buy fresh fruit and vegs and sonetimes if all else fails…an Italian restaurant ( in Laos, Delhi India) for example…as they almost always have a decent or good salad and a veg pasta dish!

  2. I really liked how you threw food in as one of your fears of traveling. You know what, me too. I’m picky with food and certain foods and spices like chilly and cold drinks don’t sit well with me. Usually if the food is cooked over a hot flame or served hot, I am more inclined to eat it. I also don’t like flying as I get motion sickness that can last for many hours even after the plane has landed. What I found helped was a lot of fresh air and getting enough rest.

    Best of luck with traveling this year, Cheryl. And your trusty sidekick and partner in crime, Basil (which is such a lovely name) 🙂

    1. Wow! Chilly and colas don’t do wonders with me too. I have problems with cheese too. I almost thought I was lactose intolerant. It was in my head — as Basil says. Fresh air is the best! Agree! I need to stick my head out. And breathe. If you meet us in real (I do hope we do) you’d see that I’m the sidekick. Basil’s a big bully! Haha! Basil was named after a Sheikh in Kuwait(was born there) after his father’s friend. It’s an offbeat name! You’re the first to say it’s lovely! Best wishes for a New Year, Mabel! Hope the book is going great! xo Cheryl

  3. Beautifully written Cheryl and yes, we all have our share of fears. I share your fear of heights which has only got worse as I’ve got older and I’m also pretty cautious of foods in other countries due to some stomach issues. But we push on don’t we. Great honest post my friend. xo

    1. You do have a fear of heights? I’d never have guess, Miriam. I’m quite the unlikely hiker. Though I love the mountains. Quite a paradox I think. My stomach is pretty weak too. Can’t be too careful with food. 😦 Thanks for your comment, Miriam! Never fails to make my day! And these days with the sun hiding — the days only get gloomy. Warm hugs my dear friend!

      1. Yes, seems we have more in common Cheryl, fear of heights and a sensitive stomach. I do love the mountains, like you, but as I’ve got older I just feel the vertigo more. Hugs to you and stay warm xo

      2. It is strange. I was talking to my uncle in Italy about a week ago and he said day time temps were up to 21degrees Celsius. It’s normally snowing there now. So bizarre.

      3. And now we have cold winds from Siberia! Seriously? I cannot get this pattern. I thought news reports were exaggerating it. 😦 And then I went outside.

      4. Oh Cheryl, it’s crazy isn’t it? I just can’t keep up with all the changes in the temperature. Rug up there while here we’re stripping off!

      5. Yay! And here today it’s a scorcher but tomorrow’s meant to be cool. It’s ip and down like a yoyo. How have you been Cheryl?

      6. I’m so glad you asked. Not been the best. My mac adaptor got shorted (didn’t use the right connector for the power supply in Korea) and had to get a new one. It was under warranty so I got a new one for free. Had to take a break from blogging for 2 weeks and fortunately the service centre was so efficient that they made an exception for me. So I’m back again. How have you been? It’s been a while. Still scorching?

      7. Well I’m glad you got it sorted out Cheryl. Must have been so frustrating. I’ve had a pretty ordinary day today. Domestic and financial issues are doing my head in and tonight I had a bit of a melt down. Trying to stay positive but today it all just got to me. And yes, it’s a scorcher here now. Sorry to be a downer! xo

      8. Ohh! Are you ok? I haven’t checked blogs yet so I didn’t know. 😦 I hope you get through this moment. You’re a rock! I’m sure it will pass. I know how that feels and it’s far from good. Hang in there. Sending you positivity and a warm, tight hug! xo

      9. Thanks Cheryl. It’s not in any of my blogs, you weren’t to know. what I’m going through is something I’ve not written about. And it will pass in time, you’re right. Thanks for the support and hugs. Means a lot. xo

  4. I join you with Crowds and Heights, for sure. Heights especially, even though I like walking up mountains! Flights aren’t such a problem because I rarely take one. Thanks for your honesty. Traveling has its challenges, for certain.

    1. Hiking in Korea has helped me slowly get over my fear of heights. There are still many moments when I’m desperately hoping to clutch on something! Having completed most trails makes me feel happy. Thanks for sharing your story, Denzil. It takes courage to talk of our fear. Best wishes for a New Year!
      cheers, Cheryl.

  5. Fascinating list of fears – somenhow putting them out there can help face the demons I think! I’m another who travels a lot (mostly for research) and as a vegetarian find the food thing a challenge in some places. That Woody Allen quote is brilliant!

    1. I wanted to list all my fears and thought the post might get too long. 🙂 I’ve tried being a vegetarian for long and it didn’t really work. Especially, when you travel it’s the hardest. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and being a part of the conversation!

  6. I love that you keep your blog posts genuine and down-to-earth, always 🙂 I realize now that it takes great commitment to be a travel blogger, this is prolly one of your biggest strengthts… so admire you for that 🙂

    my only fear is that I will never be able to travel as much as I’d like… 🙂

    1. Your comment made my day, Alex! 🙂 I love your work. And your posts are so real and honest always with a dash of humour. I fear I will never explore as much as I’d like. It’s a fear hard to beat. And then, I say to myself, do the best you can. Start in your street or town. Treasures can be found anywhere! 🙂 Hugs! Hoping the New Year offers all that you wish for! 🙂

  7. Awesome writing, can’t agree more about your fears. I can feel you about heights as I’m really afraid too, talk about cable cars and mountains, tall buildings. But it’s a good thing i have my husband with me to conquer these fears. Hope it doesnt stop you from exploring the world. More travels to you on 2017 🙂

    1. Thanks a bunch, Joanna! Fears are a tricky thing to conquer. I’m working hard on it! Hubby (Basil) doesn’t always help, but is definitely a strong motivation to try new things — I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m more of a couch potato and the only thing I can do is — walk. Haha! Best wishes for a New Year filled with travels to places you yearn for! Hugs Cheryl

  8. Oh Cheryl, all the things with the highest probability to meet while travelling. Go beat em all!
    Btw, wish you great years ahead. Happy new year. 🙂 🙂 ❤

    1. Thanks so much, Yuna! I made another Indonesian friend in Seoul and remembered you. How have you been? Wish you a happy New Year with a lot many places to explore! Hugs! Cheryl

  9. You’ve hit on a great truth: we seemingly intrepid travelers always have fears and worries behind the adventures. I’ve been particularly fragile this year, yet when I look at my blog posts I have presented a smiley view of things much of the time. I admire your honesty! Happy New Year!

    1. You couldn’t have said it better, Lex. I’ve always wondered if it’s just me. 🙂 Shelley and I talk about it quite often. It’s not easy being honest and I’m so glad it is well appreciated. Here’s wishing you a year filled with travels to the most exciting or even mundane places on our planet! And I’m so glad to be part of your travels (virtually)!

  10. I love your honesty, Cheryl. I share some of these, along with my husband.. each time we travel, I say it’s not for wimps! 🙂 It is one of life’s great pleasures for us and I know for you, too. All the best to you and Basil for an adventurous and fun 2017!

    1. Your words mean so much to me, Jane. 🙂 Travel can be a bitter-sweet mix of experiences and fears. Thanks for sharing your story and being a part of the conversation. Here’s to 2017! 🙂

    1. Wow! Thanks, Irina! I wrote this post when I was not in the most positive state of mind. I have often contemplated if I should even continue with the blog. So, thank you for making my evening whilst the temperatures keep dipping and winds continue to blow. 🙂 xo Cheryl

  11. So well expressed Cheryl! This is a great post… I do relate so some…There is this jittery feeling that grips me before we embark on a journey. I despise it at the moment but somehow tend to miss it when it isn’t there. Maybe a blend of anxiety and thrill.
    Wishing you many travels this year :)…Maybe you’ll head to Canada in the summer? 🙂

    1. Haha. So Canada has been on my wish list for ages! I’m not sure if I can sit for that long in a plane. Working on that aspect of travel. It’s freezing in Canada? I assume you’d be all bundled up. We’re experiencing some cold winds from Siberia. No snow and it’s really cold. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by, Divya. Could do with the cheer!

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