I Was Scared to Go to London

You want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans!”

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Like any lover of travel, I have a list a mile long of all of the places that I want to go. Beautiful places near and far. Of all the places I’ve dreamed of going, London has never been on my radar. So how do I find myself preparing to travel to London? Read on…

I received an email in my inbox from the our International Studies professor announcing an upcoming study abroad trip to the United Kingdom – specifically London, England and Swansea, Wales. I browsed through the Power Point Presentation, and it looked quite interested. However, being that I’d never heard of Swansea, and London really wasn’t on my “to-do” list, I passed it up. “Ehh.. don’t really want to go there,” I rationed.

Don’t want to go there? You would think an avid traveler and graduate student, such as myself, would be thrilled at the opportunity to go on and international trip to learn about a new culture, and bring back useful information to apply to my social work practice.  But no, I passed. The deadline passed for applications, and I moved on with my life – plotting and planning my next big move.

A little while later, I received an email, announcing that the deadline had been extended to apply for the trip. Immediately, I knew that this was my sign. I went right to work writing the required abstract to submit. The abstract asked us to address the following questions:

  1.  Why are you interested in the Learning Abroad Trip to London and Swansea, Wales?
  2.  How will you integrate your learning from the trip with your social work practice after you return to Houston?

I began typing up my cliché abstract mentioning how I would like to learn about other cultures, and how this is an excellent opportunity to see how people around the world live. We can’t truly understand and appreciate our own culture without something to compare it to. Blah blah blah. I got about half way through, and reality hit me. I asked myself, “Why do I really want to go on this trip? And why didn’t I apply the first time, if I wanted to go so badly?” That’s when the truth began to pour out onto the page. I wanted to go on this trip, not only to learn about new cultures, but to overcome my fear of the unknown. I realized that I had never participated in a study abroad opportunity because I was scared. Scared? Scared of what? The unknown. Going on a trip with strangers, staying in a hostel, being in a situation where I am NOT in control. That’s kind of a scary thing. Or at least it was to me, and it wasn’t until at begin to write my abstract that I realized this fact. I openly shared my fears and concerns about the study abroad trip.

I mentioned in my Outgoing Introvert blog that I I’m truly introverted. The idea of sharing space with people for 11 days really terrifies me. I had to push past my fear of being around people (most of whom I’ve never met) for 11 straight days. I had to push past my fear of staying in a hostel. I read blogs about how staying in hostels is the way to travel, and I’ve entertained the idea. I’ve even looked up places on Airbnb for some domestic trips. But my reality is, I’m much more of a luxury hotel type of girl. I like my room service. I like my room to myself.

When asked how I was going to use the trip in my social work practice, that part came easy. I’d just had a discussion with some of my students about studying abroad. They mentioned that in college they wanted to study abroad. I told them that was a great idea, and that I wish I had done it when I was in school. (I conveniently left out the part that there was still an opportunity to do so.) I told them it was a great opportunity and if it was something that they are interested in go for it. But I realized I hadn’t taken my own advice. It’s so easy to tell others what they should do. It’s easy to tell others to go for their dreams, but when it comes to us we err on the side of caution. I want to be able to lead my students by example. So I threw caution to the wind and poured my heart out in my abstract. The doubt and uncertainty begin to take over as I finish my abstract. I read over it, then quickly submitted it before I change my mind. All I could think was this has the potential to be disastrous.

loveThen I recalled the quote by Peter McWilliams. A quote about love that can be applied to all aspects of life. It says, “It is a risk to love, what if it doesn’t work out? Ah, but what if it does. So often in life we are hindered by the “what ifs.” There will always be “what if.” There are always be risks. There will always be things that might not work out. There will be risk that we take and everything happens just as disastrously as we expected it. But then there are those risks that we take that turn into opportunities greater than we could ever imagine. I’ve decided that I’m going to discernfully take risks…put myself out there at every given opportunity knowing that if God placed a desire in my heart, there is a reason for it, and I don’t need to be afraid. Here I come London!

6 thoughts on “I Was Scared to Go to London

  1. Wow girl! You inspire me lol Go for what you know!! I can’t believe that London wasn’t on your radar the travelers of all travelers lol Good luck to you but most of all have fun and enjoy the experience.

  2. Always good to trust in God and let Him do His thang with the life He has given you. Lovely article! And now your life is all the better for that experience that you tried to turn away.

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