Conquering your fears…

I drove in Ireland. I drove…in Ireland. It’s still sinking in. Can’t you tell? I drove on the opposite side of the road, on the opposite side of the car. It was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done. Twisting, winding, narrow roads laid out in front of me. I was terrified. Roundabouts, kilometers…all things foreign and new to this American driver. This experience was even more harrowing because of the near-misses I avoided on the road. Not only are you driving on a different side of the car, but also there are a host of other things to worry about because of this. You have more “car” to think about on the left side. Therefore, I narrowly avoided ditches, embankments, and completely ran over a curb in Cork City. I was also the slowest driver in Ireland. People moved around me as if I were sitting still, and I felt as though I were on a racetrack with the other cars zooming past me. In one small village, I was almost t-boned by a car whizzing out of an alleyway. Was he rude, or did he jump out screaming obscenities? No, in typical Irish fashion, he politely waved and seemed apologetic, as I attempted to swallow my heart that had climbed into my throat. Highlights of the drive? Waiting for sheep to cross in front of us in the Wicklow Mountains, the quintessential Irish postcard…that we experienced in the flesh. What kept me going, you may ask? The nagging feeling, that there are many other travelers out there that travel to places far scarier than driving in Ireland. How could I claim to have wanderlust if I couldn’t even do this? What did I learn about myself? I did it. It’s as simple as that. I did it! I’ve always been timid and shy about doing things that I’m uncomfortable with. I would rather avoid them, like a turtle in his or her shell, than step out and actually try. When I have accomplished things, it has been through tremendous effort and willpower that it has happened. My advice? Don’t wait. Step out and conquer what you’ve been fearing. Let me tell you, it is an enormous sense of accomplishment to step back and see the results. You will be stronger than you’ve ever been – in mind, body, and spirit. This new confidence will allow you to push forward through whatever obstacle comes your way. “You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

Sheep crossing in front of the car in the Wicklow Mountains.

Sheep crossing in front of the car in the Wicklow Mountains.

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