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Bravery Training, Inspiration and the Disappearing of the Word “Scared”

I am a coward. I have no faith in my abilities and I  seriously overuse the word “scared” as in “I can’t do a 10km walk, cos I’m scared I’ll ache in the morning” or “I can’t talk to local people cos I’m scared they won’t appreciate my efforts to speak their language and I’ll be embarrassed”

Or at least I used to be.

On this trip I have had extensive “no such word as can’t” training from David and Stef – it was they who convinced me to continue the longer walk, and to join them on cross country runs which I was slow at but finished!

The bravery training has been delivered from Warren in the form of shouts of encouragement on bike rides “speed is your friend!” he bellowed flying passed, not a bit of fear in sight “just GO FOR IT!” and you know what – he’s bloody right, the faster you go and the braver you are the more you just ride right over those bumps.

I have been hugely inspired and touched by group 2 member, Ian, who is reregistered blind. He is travelling the world alone after losing his sight at 23 years old, IN SIX WEEKS!!! Six weeks from fully sighted to blind. And you know what he did? Well he didn’t say ” can’t go back to uni, can’t go travelling, can’t have a life”

He went back to uni, and then did a masters! And then Ian booked a flight and then got on it and landed in Taiwan to visit friends, as he had arranged, then he met our tour, and I didn’t even realise he was blind until he told me. And now the tour is finished he is travelling Asia. And after that he is going home, to help with the pre Christmas rush on his family’s turkey farm. And now he’s talking of flying back out somewhere exotic and crazy after Christmas and carrying on. That’s when he’s not talking about this or that amazing job he’s seen in London.

He tackled the Sapa trek, which was very challenging with some very difficult climbs and downward stretches especially when it began raining, with the enthusiasm and skill of any of us (and at times considerably more energy)

Now, every time I think I can’t do it I think of Ian, who never lets a little thing like blindness get in the way of a good time and remember that nothing is stopping me and I have no excuses. Being scared is more about not wanting to fail or be embarrassed and can’t and scared have no place in my vocabulary. In fact Stef recently banned me from saying the word scared (he’s been inspired by George Orwell’s 1984 – remove the word and remove the thought) and in the absence of the word I actually find myself saying ” ok let’s try”

So it is no longer “I can’t, I’m scared” it’s now “ok let’s give it a go!” which is how I found myself talking to 88 year old veteran soldiers in Jiansui, dancing traditional Chinese dances in the streets of Kunming and having photographs taken with little old ladies sell ing their fruit and veg in the rice terraces.

The training will be complete however when I get up and do KTV – one of the multitude of karaoke bars found all over south east Asia. Watch this space – anything could happen!;o)