Do not let your fears keep you rooted to the same spot
"We have now begun our descent."
If you are a frequent flyer, those words have stopped moving you. You are already looking around and gathering your things. You are thinking about the airport terminal and how best to connect with the world on the other side of your flight.
But this is not how I arrived in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya last week. For one, I don't choose the window seat when I travel, ask any fat person. If you struggle to locate a fat person to fill you in let me know, we can pick it up later.
This was a relatively empty flight and I had an entire row to myself, and that is how I happened to find myself on the window seat as the captain announced our descent.
As Nairobi leapt into view, I was struck by the beauty of the green vegetation clinging onto the brown of the earth and mountains like a clingy lover. I know because I am a clingy lover, a story for another day.
I was struck by how beautiful it was, but also how familiar it was; I had seen that image before.
It was on a domestic flight when I cared to peer down. It may have not been the exact same image, but it definitely looked somewhat similar.
The familiarity was the comfort that I didn't know I needed. I am an anxious person, travelling especially brings out the worst in me.
The night before I travelled, I had felt so sick, at some point I even considered calling my friend to check on me.
Luckily I remembered that anxiety can often bury itself so deep in your body.
The familiarity of that image promised me so much, but mostly that even though I was about to land in a foreign country, by myself, I would be okay. It reminded me that the human experience and existence across the world is an extension of itself.
By the time I walked through the hot and sticky customs room, I was reminded that whatever experience lies behind that counter, it comes at me through other humans just like me.
As I hauled my bag off the carousel, I felt a surge of confidence shoot through me.
The security spot-checked my bag. I did not panic. Instead I remembered that I love small airports.
By the time I walked out of the terminal and spotted the man holding up a board with my name, I had promised to reward myself with more different experiences.
Sometimes we let fear keep us rooted to the same spot - in the familiar.
What I know for sure is that my lungs feel different every time I conquer or overcome fear. I breathe deeper.
Each time I manage to elevate myself above an obstacle, I become more confident and I am emboldened.
By the time I get on stage for my first talk, my confidence is at its peak and I owe my fears gratitude.
I am already researching the next country I am going to visit - to go smile in the face of my fears.
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