5) Recognising and handling fear
This is a big one. As soon as we are away from our comfort zone, we experience a form of fear which often drives us back to a position of the familiar. Now if you’re traveling in Canada and you see a bear up ahead,Or if you’re in the depths of winter and you see a storm bearing down, then it’s wise to take shelter. These are real fears. What isn’t helpful is the worrying fear of getting somewhere late because you may have to find somewhere to camp where you haven’t planned. Just let go and a suitable place will turn up. Finding out that you’ve taken a wrong turning, don’t fret but instead explore the unexpected and eventually the map will take care of things. If not, a passer-by comes to the rescue and you can experience that lovely feeling of being looked after. Now we are entering the area of serendipity, where fear starts to drop away and you experience the reality where the self isn’t always in control.
Another fear producing experience is listening to others, with comments like, “Can we do this?”. Or “They won’t allow that”. This is often a projection of someone’s own fear. For example I often free camp and on the Danube cycle weg I found a clearing in the forest and put my tent up near a trailer. Just as I was falling asleep the farmer drove in and told me it was forbidden to camp and pointed out that the trailer was a mobile bee hive. I reassured him in my most polite English that I would leave first thing before the sun warmed up and the bees became active. He seemed happy with that and left.
By the same token it’s sometimes better to be open. Once in Tuscany I saw a clump of trees by a field up a farm track. As I was putting the tent up a boy cycled from the farm and said something in Italian which with my almost zero languages, I wasn’t able to understand. He returned with dad who wanted me to join them for supper and sleep in the farmhouse. I felt so silly having crept by their property. So what is important is your intention .
After a while when you feel physically fit you will be able to take, what you would have considered risks, physically and mentally. That is the learning experience.