Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Notes on travel and trust

I’m Kari Marie, and for the moment I’ve got more to say here about traveling than modeling. I promise I’ll get to the naked part next time around, and I hope you’ll forgive me in the meantime. I've always been a fan of traveling. Even before I fell into modeling, I had chronic wanderlust. New places bring new adventures, and new adventures make me a happy girl. But adventures don't just fall into one's lap. More and more, I'm finding that my travels and life become richer the less fear I hold.

We live in a culture of such fear- fear of strangers on the street, fear of strangers on the internet, fear of new places, fear of boxcutters, fear of unpredictable Bad Things which, without constant vigilance, will surely destroy all which is good in our lives. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't a call to throw all caution to the wind. Let me emphasize that- the world is not all rainbows and puppies, and there are some truly ill-intentioned individuals out there. This is, however, a suggestion to really evaluate exactly what those risks of which we're so afraid are.

Time and time again, when sharing stories, I'm asked, "Aren't you afraid?" Am I afraid of hitching rides in rural Ecuador? No, it's practically a form of public transportation through the area. Am I afraid of moving by myself to a place where I know no one? No, I'll meet people once I'm there. Am I afraid of working with photographers found on Craig's List? No, the skeezy ones tend to make themselves obvious within the first few e-mails exchanged. Am I afraid of staying with folks I've never personally met, but found on low-budget traveler networking websites? No, I'm on those sites too, and I think I'm pretty nifty- I've no reason to believe there aren't others like me. Not only am I unafraid of these actions, but my life has been enriched immeasurably by doing all of them. I’ve met countless wonderful, inspirational individuals simply by stepping off of the evenly paved, handrail-lined, clearly marked path.

The funny thing is, the more I put trust in others, the more self-reliant I become. I'm no longer confined to a safe, sterile bubble, isolated from any and all chance of the unexpected. As it turns out, the unexpected tends to be pretty nifty. Things can and will go wrong, but I can handle them. I am not helpless in the face of unforeseen circumstances. Had I spent my life playing it safe, I would not have the confidence in that statement that I do today. So go forth, travelers- get your hands dirty, make friends with a stranger, and let the adventures begin.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you completely. I have traveled the world for both business and pleasure and have found that by meeting people from other places and talking to them about everyday things, I have a greater understanding of their view of the world. I have a friend who is a sikh and wears a turban and could not believe the harrassment he went through following 9/11. The ignorance of Americans who don't travel shows through in our reactions to immigration, health care (oh no, we'll be like France, the UK, or ... gasp ... Canada), taxes, etc. I have a relative who does not want to go to any other countries because he says, "The US is the greatest country on the earth - why go anywhere else." Well, if you feel that way, then you should want to travel to both reaffirm that view but also to understand other places and people.

    I have also taken a leap professionally -- I have been a freelancer for the past 5 years and have found that, although scary, it is thrilling to be able to provide for myself without relying on a corporate paycheck. I feel almost like a hunter/gatherer and at the end of the day, it is very satisfying.

    Enjoy your travels! Enjoy the journey!