The first two questions most people ask me when I tell them about our impending journey are, "Aren't you excited," and "Aren't you SCARED?" My answer to this first is always a resounding, "YES!!! I can't wait!" To the second, my response is also, "yes." I am trying to overcome a fear of the unknown dangers we may encounter during what will probably be the biggest adventure of my life. Colin has spent a tremendous amount of energy researching and acquiring the appropriate gear, documentation, and information for us to successfully do this, and we have spent a lot of time with our noses in books or at the computer monitor to determine where to go, how to get there, and what to do. We have calendars, daily, weekly, and master to-do lists to keep organized (thank you Colin for teaching me the importance of being organized; it doesn't come naturally to me as you know). We will be as prepared as we can be for anything that comes our way.
Unfortunately, you cannot plan for every possibility. For the monkey wrench that inevitably gets launched into every well-oiled machine (or well-planned journey), I've learned that you have to be willing to let go of control and be able to trust in the kindness of strangers. People who are unfamiliar with international travel wonder how we communicate without speaking the local language. When we were in southeast Asia, we used phrase books to learn the basic pleasantries and essentials and largely used gestures (and calculators for monetary transactions requiring bargaining!) in the instances when no one around spoke any English. The handful of sticky predicaments we found ourselves in were largely relieved by strangers who recognized that we were in need (probably by the look of panic on my face) and stepped in to help. I realize that not every person is trustworthy and that we do need to be on guard in many situations, at home and elsewhere, but I do know that we will be alright through our own preparedness and through the kindness of strangers.