To Fear or Not to Fear

With only three days left at my job, pre-departure “crunch time” is rapidly approaching… I’ve spent the last two weeks at numerous doctor appointments making sure everything is up to date, from my eyeglass prescription to my tetanus vaccination. All the while my search for additional funding / grants continues… though I should probably fear moving to the Middle East with 1/4 of the amount of money I should have to live off of, I feel oddly unafraid.

However, I have 3 weeks left, and who knows what that could bring! The tone among my friends, family, and strangers who I tell of my upcoming journey is growing darker with each encounter… the fear of strangers is even trickling into my life.

During a conversation with my mother this morning she told me that someone instructed her to tell me not to let them put a stamp on my passport when I arrive is Israel if I planned on visiting any Arab countries while in the Middle East, or terrible things could happen. I’m sorry, but this seems a bit silly to me. This does not go to say that I am uninformed of the current political, religious, and sociological situation in the Middle East, but I just refuse to live my life in fear.

The fact that I am moving to Israel does, of course mean that the turbulent era that the Middle East is currently in the throws of is becoming my reality as well, and is already close to home for me… After the suicide bombing in Bulgaria I found out that one of the people killed was a woman who lived on the same street as a friend of mine, who’s home I will be staying at the first week I am in Israel. A few days later I read an article regarding the Israeli / Syrian border, which spoke of a kibbutz founded in 1967 after Israel conquered the Golan Heights and whether or not the kibbutzim should fear for their safety or not… the cafe mentioned in the article serves wonderful coffee–I’ve been there and looked out over the landscape in Syria as I drank my coffee.

In Tel Aviv, there are social protests which are becoming increasingly heated. Recently, a man set himself on fire in the middle of the street… this is the town next to where I will be living. These things are reality, but no… I am not going to refuse to have my passport stamped, be paranoid to tread near the borders of Arab countries, avoid public transportation, or practice any of the other “precautionary” measures that have been suggested to me…  I don’t plan on doing anything overtly dangerous or “stupid” (stupid being a subjective term, but don’t get me started on that) of course… I’m just going to go volunteer and experience this journey.

If you let fear make your decisions for you, you’ll never truly experience life… and I would prefer to experience every minute of it.

“We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” ― Marilyn Monroe

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