Scary People, Scary Places

August 26, 2013 — 13 Comments

“This is the place we should say we’re from Canada”, we discussed as we took our short flight from Bali to Yogyakarta, Indonesia. As the country is home to the largest muslim population in the world, we figured this was a safe bet.

But it could get worse elsewhere. What about Cambodia where the shadows of the infamous Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge still terrorize the country after they killed 1/3rd of the population? There’s no way these people would be happy to see “rich Westerners” there to see Angkor Wat and then head out. Or Vietnam which must still have a disdain towards Americans for obvious reasons. Worst yet, Myanmar, a country highly controlled by a corrupt regime that until recently had the country closed off to all outsiders.

We had obvious reason for concern as we entered into these foreign lands. However, after our initial fears faded and our experience with the locals increased, each place proved safe. Not only that, some of the places we feared the most proved to house the most friendly locals. The scariest part of the countries was the fear we had in anticipation.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized this is a pretty common occurrence. We fear each other in the US. Not always the fear that comes from entering a dangerous area where you might get hurt, but the fear that pushes you to pull your iPhone in front of your face in the elevator instead of talking to the stranger who just walked in. The fear that prevents us from meeting new people or networking with current connections, which could drastically change or improve some parts of our lives.

A very wise man in Belize planted this thought in our mind when he talked about how afraid people are of each other. He said people walk by and they’re afraid to talk to him. They’ll look at his table filled with souvenirs and knick-knacks, but their eyes don’t go beyond the edge of the table in fear of meeting his and requiring some sort of verbal or non-verbal communication. He thinks it all starts with the parents who teach their kids to be afraid of everyone.

What do you think? Do we fear each other too much or do you think it’s required?




Sharing is good for you and me!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUpon

13 responses to Scary People, Scary Places

  1. This falls into our fear of the unknown. We fear what we do not understand. It matters little if the fear is healthy or not. It doesn’t even matter that the fear keeps us from experiencing new things. That all comes back to the fear being irrational. We do know better. We know that not everyone in the world is out to get us. We know that strange and new experiences can enrich our lives. But our fear is there. Because there is always that one chance that the stranger you meet is the one who will prove your fears true…

    • Wow, I feel like you pulled this out of one of your books – great comment! I love the part about “we do know better” – so true. I do think some fear is a good thing to have because it probably does keep us out of a lot of trouble.

  2. I think Jon has already said it all. Fear is a healthy thing, except when it’s not. I am so glad that you are not letting fear prevent you from enjoying not only the lovely sites, but the people who live there as well. 🙂

  3. Fear unchecked and with no bounds is just as unhealthy as none at all. Both can lead to disastrous consequences. To me it’s all about commonsense. Learning to approach a new unknown with a bit of trepidation and still have a willingness to push the boundaries is easy to say but not so easy to do. I love that you have found a way to do that. Look how that has rewarded you. 🙂

  4. Dan – Your post resonated closely with me. I have tried to teach my children to put the electronics away and engage with people. Do not judge someone on their outward appearence but who they are as a person. I will happily admit my children have learned to be friends with all types of people.

    • Elizabeth – that’s awesome to hear, but I don’t think I’d have the first clue of how to safely raise kids with enough fear but not too much fear! Showing them that people who look different are also good people does seem like a a good way to start

  5. Dan — I think it’s fear of the unknown that can paralyze us. We find our comfort zone and are often afraid to stray away from it. When you’re finished with this trip, I think you’ll find that you don’t fear the unknown nearly as much as you did before. I have to admit that I don’t know if I’d have the courage to take your kind of trip. I envy and admire you.

    • Thanks Jeannette, I can see how some of our “fears of the unknown” have melted away since we’ve visited these places. I still think some of the scariest places in the world are still in the US!!

  6. I think that people have many fears, and always will. No matter what, there is always something to fear. Success, failure, people, technology, death, writing, you name it.

  7. I do think people too often allow fear of other things, people, and places to stop them from fully experiencing what a given culture may have to offer. One of my blogger friends recently took a trip to Trinidad. She makes a point to embrace the people wherever she goes, and the kindness of others always shines through. In fact, it became her most popular post as the people of the country were thrilled to see someone cover them in a positive light.

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>