“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. “— H.P. Lovecraft
Some says that a little fear is good for us. It makes us feel vulnerable, more human. I, for instance, got also to enjoy the benefits of having fear every time I am depressed. I capitalize on the things I fear by exposing myself to it during my times of depression. By doing so, my mind, even for just a period of time, forgets about the cause of my depression since it needed to battle with my fear. These are actually some of the very few moments that I am actually grateful for the things I am afraid of.
Unfortunately, fear, as a travel enthusiast, do me more harm than good. It limits my movement, impairs my decision, affects my relationship. During my travels, I am frequently exposed to the things I am very afraid of. I hate the feeling. While my friends got to enjoy almost everything, I was there, just appreciating the possibility, the “what if I try” scenario, without actually being able to try it. There were times that I finally got to push myself to try it, but the satisfaction really was not there since the fear was consuming my thoughts the whole time— what if I fall, what if it bite me, what if.
I hate to admit it, but as much as people see me as adventurous and fearless, I do have a lot of fear, from the most common to the more complex ones, and these are as follows:
Arachnophobia, fear of spiders.
One of the most common fear there is. Among all the fears I have, I exactly aware when and how I got this. When I was young, my cousin chased me with a “giant” spider. End of story. So every time I hike or just stroll in forests or even farms, I need to check first whether there are spiders around. Even going to comfort rooms is such a pain because of big spiders crawling inside it.
Altophobia, fear of heights.
This is the fear I hate the most. As a mountain climbing enthusiast, there are a lot of times that you actually need to pass through mountain edges. The best part is, the view sure is breathtaking, the worst? It literally suck the air out of you. The feeling that you just want to faint but you don’t want to is actually depressing in its own way. There was once a time when I rode a cable car with my family for more than an hour! I don’t know what I will actually do during that time. The cable car has a window flooring and was very high. The worst part was that I needed to endure it twice since it was the only way going to and from the island.
During my recent trips in some provinces of the Philippines, I tried, with some of my friends, toploading. Toploading is just basically riding atop a jeepney for almost the entire trip. Of course, since it is an experience that I don’t want to have and for a better view of the land and seacapes, I always do it, I have to. But again, it was actually a challenge of its own. After the trip, my arms were hurting all over because I needed to hold on really tight to whatever I could hold on to.
Ochlophobia, fear of crowds.
Some people who know me would actually laugh at this thought, entirely because they see me as a person very much into socializing. In fact, they would never think that I actually have this since I am always with a lot of people. The truth is, I got a high level of discomfort every time I go to places such as public markets and public railway transit system. It is actually very difficult to explain the feeling every time I experience this kind of fear, especially when I am not familiar with most of the people in that crowd. That feeling that makes you want to escape somewhere. That heavy feeling of anxiety. And what’s worst is that, most of the people you know can’t actually relate to you.
Claustrophobia, fear of confined spaces.
Just recently, I did a cave connection activity in the northern part of the Philippines. Before the activity, I was actually hesitant because I particularly dislike the feeling of being confined. When we arrived in the front of the cave, I actually thought that it was fine, that I would be fine inside. The opening was very big, so big that an entire truck could actually fit into it. But, I was wrong. As we went deeper and deeper and deeper into the cave, I felt like something was strangling me. The air was escaping my lungs in an incredibly fast rate. I wanted to break the walls so badly. I felt like it will collapse and bury me alive, so when we finally reached the light, I rushed outside to breathe and relax myself.
But this kind of fear is not something that I actually experience in just occasional basis. The mere ride in an enclosed vehicle actually gives me panic attacks. There is a particular type of vehicle that I hate the most, Toyota Grandia. Why? Because you cannot open its windows! Every time I ride this vehicle, I feel like I am inside a coffin where I cannot escape. Just 5 minutes inside this vehicle already gives me a terrible headache and for most instances, I have to push myself to sleep so that I will not feel the discomfort.
What’s worst about this fear is that, in most cases, people will not actually understand how and why you feel that way.
As a young travel enthusiast, all I wanted is to explore and try everything wherever my feet brings me, without the fear of being hindered by fear.