When we talk to people we meet along the way, we often hear: “You’re so brave, travelling around the world, the way you do”. I cheekily reply: “Not brave, just naive!” This always gets a laugh.
But there is more weight to this exchange than my joking response lets you expect. The fear of the unknown occupies even the experienced traveller’s mind at times. So far, I am looking back on a total of 10 years “on the road” and I’m happy to admit that it took at least one, maybe even two years until something significantly changed – as far as my perception of fear was concerned. The more one travels the more one’s fear is replaced by concern, respect and adaption. And that’s a good thing.
Josephine and I were travelling through El Salvador in 2015. It is a small country but it suffers an enormous amount of gun violence. Especially in the capital San Salvador, gangs fight for dominance in drug trafficking and kill competitors mercilessly. This puts a lot of fear in the rest of the population as well as us travellers. Fortunately we were contacted by a young motorcycle-travel aficionado before we even entered the country. He offered to show us around his country. We welcomed the opportunity of being led through a dangerous and unknown territory by a local. The fact that his surname was Escobar, like the famous drug lord, did not raise any red flags on our side. It’s a very common name in latin America 😉
You can call it naivety or fearlessness, but through our new friend’s insight we found a way to gauge the risk and get a feel for the place. We ended up travelling much longer and farther through El Salvador than we initially planned – a pattern that runs through most of our stories and films. Daniel and Josephine // www.open-explorers.com
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