Mace, a $24 first aid kit, two cheap LED flashlights, and a box of granola bars. That was enough to catch the attention of Susan, the kind cashier at Wal-Mart helping me check out.
“You going on an adventure there, sweetheart?” she asked curiously.
I nodded my head and explained I was going on a hike. It was the first time I’d been hiking on my own since none of my friends could join that day. I wanted to be prepared for anything even though the trail I was going on had heavy traffic. I didn’t think that it was a big deal to go alone. I’ve been hiking and camping out in nature ever since I was a little girl. My family didn’t do the traditional vacations at Disneyland resorts or cruises that many of my friends were accustomed to. Nope. My family knew how to sleep in a tent without a shower for days on end and have fun doing it.
“You aren’t going alone there are you?” she asked.
I again nodded my head in response.
The look of fear I saw on her face after I said that I was going alone was enough to make me want to turn around to make sure the boogie man wasn’t behind me.
“You shouldn’t do that sweetheart. It’s dangerous out there for girls like you.”
I just stood and smiled, thanked her for her kindness and concern, took my items and left.
When will we start stopping?
When will women stop being afraid? When will we stop being afraid to go to the bathroom alone? When will we stop being afraid to ask for permission to go and do the things we love? When will we start to realize that it’s society that tells us we aren’t strong enough to make it on our own? That we need to have the buddy system apply to us for the rest of our lives?
If I were a 20-year-old male going out on my own, I have my suspicions that Susan probably wouldn’t have made any comment.
As a woman whose life goal is to pack up her Jeep and dog and travel the world to gain experiences alone, it’s disheartening to know that there are still women out there who don’t have faith in themselves.
What if the boogie man really had been standing behind me in that Wal-Mart line holding a gun up to my head telling me I could give my last words. What if the Rocky Mountain fault line all of a sudden decided to shift giving way to a 7.5 magnitude earthquake right then? What if I suddenly died from a heart attack walking back to my car in the middle of the parking lot? What if? What if? What if?
For the women who aren’t afraid to let the “what if’s” decide their life adventure.
There are so many what if’s in this world. What if a stalker really had followed me up that trail away from all the people and took me captive? What if I fell off the waterfall while looking over the edge and died? What if I missed out on one of the best experiences of my life because I listened to Susan? There are so many “what if’s” in this life, that we won’t ever accomplish anything if we let them hold us back.
We can’t let the decisions of others control our fate. You don’t need someone else to hold your hand while you’re determining your destiny. Go out there and do that thing you’ve been longing to do! Do it on your own and accomplish your dreams!
I’ve made a commitment to myself that I’m not going to let the what if’s hold me back any longer.
This is for the women who aren’t afraid. I’m dedicating my very first blog post, to the women who won’t let those “what if’s” hold them back. To the women who understand that it’s ok to do daring things alone. To the women who want to break the stereotypes that seem to hold them back in many ways. This is especially for the women who choose their own life adventure the way they want it written.
In the wise words of REI’s most recent advertising campaign, you are a force of nature. Take advantage of that.
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