There’s a great lesson in this Women with Wanderlust story by Sabrina Kautz. I did a call out on a Facebook group and she came back with a couple ideas. I thought this one would resonate well with you. I know it did for me. Fear is something that comes up for all of us, not just in travel but in everyday life. For me the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” is so true. To live you need to live with some fear. Just…

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

I was travelling with my sister in Nicaragua, it was our annual sister’s trip and this year I had picked the location (she picked the Galapagos the year prior). The day we left, I was so excited, we had outdoor activities every day from zip lining, to volcano boarding, to hiking. On our second day in Grenada, about 3 days into the trip, we left to travel on a biking and kayaking trip with a guide that we had used the day before and had been incredibly happy with.

We left on bikes from our hotel, biked through Grenada for a historical tour, then traveled about 3 miles out of the town through a park and down a rural 2 lane road to Lake Nicaragua where we locked up the bikes, rented kayaks, and took a tour of the floating islands in the lake. On the road leading to the lake, my sister had stopped to snap some pictures of some wildlife before continuing on to the lake.

We were having a lovely day, it was relaxing and the weather was perfect. There were only a few other tourists out there since we were there in the off season, although this is a popular trip during the high season. As we were biking back to the hotel, we heard a rustle in the bushes and 2 teenage kids jumped out with tshirts wrapped around their faces and machetes in their hands. They separated us from the guide by stepping between us and approached us for our backpacks. The guide shouted at them in Spanish but couldn’t do much as he was too far away from us and there were weapons present. They may have seen my sister taking a picture earlier and wanted the camera, or just pegged us as tourists with backpacks. I promptly dropped my backpack and the one boy ran off while my sister froze and didn’t give hers up as easily. I was able to get over to her and get her backpack off of her back, but she had a small bruise on her arm due to the boy pulling on her bag.

My sister and I handle fear and tragedy very differently. I got angry but managed to call my credit card company to have emergency cash sent, used my rusty Spanish to get a police report, and the hotel staff helped get her a doctors appointment the following Monday to get her arm looked at in order to get the report issued for our insurance companies. She was immediately on the phone with my parents and was ready to get on the first plane home. We were luckily able to salvage part of the trip, and while later than originally planned we were able to get down to the beach for one relaxing day. Granted, she lost some more valuable items than me, but it was just things and everyone was safe and there were no serious injuries. We even had a nice family at the beach take some pictures and send us videos from zip lining.

I have taken two trips in the year since the incident, one solo to surf camp in the DR and one to Southeast Asia with a friend from college, but as my sister and I head off to South Africa, I know she is very nervous. She has expressed concern about being out at night and making sure we are around people all the time. I hope that I can alleviate her fears and make sure that the trip is as special as it should be with her love of nature and that she can hopefully put the fear aside and enjoy this amazing trip.

I recognize there are bad people everywhere, I have witnessed muggings in both Barcelona and Phnom Penh, but I have also been pick pocketed at home in Chicago. You can’t let the fear of a random experience stop you from so many guaranteed amazing ones. The people I have met on my travels have been so special. After this experience our hotel staff were some of the nicest and most helpful people I have met. They just wanted people to enjoy their country and show them all the beauty they have to offer and went out of our way to make sure we were safe and OK. So my advice is always travel safe and smart, but go out, explore, leave your comfort zone, and see as much of this amazing world has to offer. For every one bad person out there, there are 20 amazing people to make up for it.

Read more of Sabrina’s stories on her blog.

If you love these stories there is more on the blog just search for women with wanderlust. I also have my book for those of you looking to travel more! Safety and threats are two sections in the book. I tell a story about what it was like to almost have my bag slashed only to find out…I’ll let you finish the story in the book.