I almost didn’t bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. So many things were running through my mind – what if I get lost? Are there bike lanes on the bridge itself? Will I look silly wearing a helmet since most people here don’t?
These questions plagued so much that I put it off for days. But reflecting back, it seems ludicrous that I would have given up doing something so rewarding over such small complaints. But nevertheless, they persisted.
Why do we fear the unknown? Even over the littlest things, our fight or flight response kicks in and we’re left feeling strangely uncomfortable.
But really, why am I so scared of something like cycling? It’s a popular tourist activity, so why am I concerned about which bike shop is best, or whether I’ll be able to find the ferry terminal at Sausaulito?
I know our brains like to fit things into familiar boxes and doesn’t deal well with things that don’t appear to be known. But I hate it. I hate being scared of something as small as taking public transport for the first time in a new city.
But in the end it’s always better to take that slightly scary step than to think “what if”. It may require a process to get there – talking yourself into it or trying to convince yourself it’s not really that unknown compared to what you’ve done previously – but it’s definitely more rewarding to do so.
I still have a fear of travelling to a country where English isn’t the predominant language, but here’s to walking into the unknown and giving it a go.