All of us have secret fears about traveling far away to foreign countries. Many of them turn out to be unfounded.
But occasionally those things we feared actually manifest themselves into reality. I honestly have to say this is the first time it’s happened to me since I started my journey.
Ten months ago when I decided to quit my day job and travel long-term around the world, I was forced to plan for things I had never felt the need to really worry about before.
How would I manage my finances from other countries? What happens if I lose everything I own? Who do I contact if I get sick? Where do I go in an emergency?
The process of planning for these scenarios gave me the courage to face any new challenges that might pop up on the road.
I thought I was prepared for anything.
Yet there was one little fear that was lingering in the back of my head: What happens if someone in my immediate family get’s very sick or dies while I’m thousands of miles away?
I made a mental note of this possibility, but didn’t dwell on it too much.
I Wasn’t Prepared
Well, a few days ago that little fear of mine become a reality. And it certainly doesn’t feel little anymore.
I’m writing this from an airplane as I fly back to the United States from Panama to attend the funeral of my grandmother Irene.
She was the proud mother of 6 children, loving grandmother to 8 grandchildren, and just missed meeting her first great-grandchild. My grandmother was probably a lot like yours; an incredible, caring woman who lived an extraordinary life. I’m honored to be a part of her family, and love her very much.
Actually I’m Lucky
While I’m completely devastated by her sudden death, I know it could have been worse. I had been preparing to travel through Panama’s Darien jungle, getting ready to spend weeks living with indigenous tribes of Embera & Wounaan Indians.
Had my grandmother passed away while I was exploring this remote wilderness, there would have been no way to contact me and I would have missed my chance to fly back for the funeral and grieve with the rest of the family. In this way at least, I feel lucky.
I know of other travelers who didn’t get this same opportunity.
The whole ordeal has reminded me of the fact that no matter how much you prepare for the unexpected in life, the universe may have plans of it’s own.
So if you get a chance, give your grandparents a call.