"Go to your fears, sit with them, stare at them. Your fears are your friend, their only job is to show you undeveloped parts of yourself that you need to cultivate to live a happy life. The more you do the things you're most afraid of doing the more life opens up. Embrace your fears and your fears will embrace you." - Jackson Kiddard
Fear. It's a real thing. During my 2009 trip to Mysore, India I was hit by a speeding motorcycle taking a turn onto a cross street driving a motoscooter. I flew off the bike making an arch. I went up, up, up, and then down. The angle at which I was launched was my saving grace. Somehow, I made it out with only a few lacerations on my feet, ankles and hands. I still to this day feel other powers were at work to have walked away from the experience minimally injured. However, the crunching sound of metal hitting on metal and the speed and velocity at which everything happened stayed with me long after. Moments can quickly change with little or no warning.
When I left India I had the obvious prémonition that I would never get back on a motorbike. Hence, the following year, back in Mysore, I became the worst backseat passenger known to man. I was jumpy, hyperaware and everything and everyone on the road was a threat. Three trips back to Mysore since then and I have never drove a scooter.
Now in Taiwan, I've been forced to get back on a motorbike. Believe me, if it weren't for the necessity I would have been absolutely fine not getting on one for the rest of my days. Then again, I have been allowing past experiences to define the present.
I know plenty of people who refuse to get up on a motorbike, especially in India, where pure chaos is the order of the day on the streets. Somehow it works and often you're left thinking, how?! In my case, I know I was avoiding. A rational fear, yes, but avoiding nonetheless. Why not relinquish the fact that, yes, I'm scared shitless, but life is too short to be bound by a fear from one experience. Taiwan is a good place to dip my toe back in. The roads are a bit chaotic, but not as nearly as chaotic as in India. A good practice ground.
Once I gathered up the courage to hop back on a motorscooter, I puttered down the road, being passed up by old ladies. To my amusement I couldn't help but giggle at the crazy slow pace I was going. Soon it got boring. I started to relax.
Driving in Taiwan there is a different flow. Gosh, in Sweden it doesn't get much more organized. Bland, haha. It's like you have to get in touch with a different internal rhythm. Then if you compare it to India you have all the animals to contend with, haha. Let me just say it never gets boring. My senses come alive in a way that can go on auto-pilot at home. These contrasts bring another experience into my realm. The relief that comes when crossing through a barrier is pure exhilaration.
I'm glad I went through with it.