A rare photo of Kerry in the wild. (Photo credit to Barbara Larrain)

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the top two questions I get asked on the road: (1) Where are you going/ coming from? (2) Are you lonely?

But there’s also a third question, which I think deserves it’s own thread:

(3) Are you scared?

And the answer is always, emphatically, “No.”

Because, no.

I’m not scared.

And I refuse to be scared by the prospect of traveling alone as a woman.

Now, before you get all, “this might not be because you’re a woman” on me, let me fill you in on some follow up comments from the (mostly older, seemingly well-intentioned) men who ask me this question:

– “Do you have MACE? I have a law enforcement background and some men can be creeps.”

– “I would never let my daughter do what you’re doing in a million years.”

– “Do you at least have pepper spray?”

– “You’re a brave, brave girl.”

Now, from these many interactions I’ve come to feel that these people think I SHOULD be scared. That somehow it’s not right or not proper for me to be venturing into the unknown without nagging worry. Or perhaps, that I should be so fearful as to not embark on this adventure at all.

To which I say, no.

No, I will not be scared to adventure alone as a woman.

No, I will not let your fear-driven view of the world keep me from meeting the other citizens of this planet.

Instead, just as every adventurer I admire, I will minimize the risks I can foresee, use my good judgement in unforeseen circumstances, and let go of all the things I cannot control. That is all I can do. That is all any of us can do.

And also, if something scares you, it’s probably worth doing.