My sleep was interrupted last night by a hooded figure standing over me inside my tent. Initially I was confused, my eyes slowly adjusting to the sparse amount of light that was seeping through the small nylon enclosure. But as soon as I realized what was going on I instinctively started screaming, trying to put as much space between us as I could.
I was halfway through a series of profanity laden insults when I realized that I wasn't hearing anything come out of my mouth - my body and lips were frozen, arms still at my sides. I realized that there was nothing that could be done, I was going to die.
That's when the sleep paralysis broke.
The blood suddenly found its way through my veins, and in one smooth motion I sat up, hands reaching for my pepper spray.
The tent entrance stood empty, my mind being the culprit for this midnight invasion.
People ask me if I'm ever afraid. In that situation, yes - because it felt like another human being was going to cause me harm, and my body was not responding...but the more I spend exploring and the less I think about the potential of harm, the happier I am. I already know that there are dangerous people in the world. I am told that every day by people I meet on the street, and from the flashing news reports on television...
But let me tell you something:
While I think that it's of the upmost importance to be observant and aware of your surroundings at all times, to hold yourself back from adventure because you are afraid is the very same reason you need to go.
Fear is a good teacher for all the wrong things: it taught me apprehension of starting conversations with strangers. It taught me anxiety when someone spends longer than four seconds staring in my direction, to list a few. The world is not as scary as you are made to believe. As long as you are aware , trusting your gut , and being confident in your abilities as a human being, things just have a habit of working out.
So yes. Sometimes I'm afraid, but at the same time I'm the happiest that I've ever been in my life.