Staring at an empty suitcase, hot tears streaming down my face, a one-way ticket to Costa Rica in my hand and departure just six hours away and fear tearing at my insides like a batch of bad oysters. Not the most glamorous way to begin my solo travel experience but it was how mine began. It wasn’t the trip or being alone that I was afraid of, but the fear of leaving the life I knew and had once loved.
The desire to travel has always been in my heart. I remember thumbing through my father’s National Geographic magazines as a child and watching every movie I could that was set in New York City. But at the age of 32, I had only made it on the token all-inclusive vacation to Mexico. The desire was still there but this time, I had a stable, well-paying job with seniority. I had married the love of my life, Mark and we were on our way to a long happy life. Until Mark passed away suddenly in an ATV accident and left a hole in my heart and took a piece of my soul.
The year after was not much of living as it was of surviving. I had gone back to my job and was back our home. Then suddenly, one day while driving to work, I had a moment of panic and blindly clarity. I was doing the same thing I had everyday, before Mark’s passing—going to work, going home, cooking the same meals, watching the same TV shows, only Mark was no longer there. The panic I felt was not that I was alone, it was that I was terrified I would be doing the same thing for the rest of my life out of fear of stepping out of the ordinary.
In that moment of clarity, I recalled hearing about a holistic healing retreat in Costa Rica. I found the website and sent an inquiry, setting my path to destiny in place.
I resigned from my job and started making arrangements for the trip. In that very moment, I started live again, to heal, and to get to know the person I am now.
Fear can be seen as a negative thing, it can hold us prisoner in place, it can keep us from doing the things we want or loving the life we want to choose. But it can also be the very catalyst we need to change our lives. When struck with fear, we must examine the emotion to the very core. Am I afraid of what is or, as in my case afraid of what is not yet? If I had never embraced that fear, I would never have completed my journey to healing and realized that even though life does not always turn out how we planned, it can still be wonderful.
In the end, I wiped those tears, filled my suitcase and boarded the plane. The fear transformed into excitement and exhilaration, and I never looked back.