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Overcoming fear: Even Kelowna wanderers feel it too

Gina Petrovich is the Kelowna Capital News’ travel columnist

The topic of fear and bravery came up in a heart-to-heart with a couple of friends recently. Can you be fearful and brave at the same time? Fearlessness is to not know fear, bravery is to have fear, but not let it control you. So, if you’re fearless, you can’t be brave, Right? While reviewing our conversation in my mind and the context in which it applied, it all began to make sense. I was mistaking bravery for fearlessness.

I have been called fearless several times in my travels. Occasionally because of the activities I partake in, but almost exclusively because I wander the globe on my own. While far from heroic, there is a great deal of intrepidity put forward each time I disembark from my flight in a foreign country, and sometimes I must internally talk my fear down to a manageable level before I depart the airport.

To some, I may seem fearless, but I feel cowardly in my trepidation, but I overcome it and grow from it, which means there is some bravery in my adventurous soul.

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Leaving the comfort of home likely causes apprehension in most travelers, and we all take measures to ensure our safety and comfort while abroad. For me, comfort is an already booked hotel room waiting for me upon my arrival, and a good cup of coffee never hurts.

Last year during my second visit to Peru, I decided to take part in a spendy excursion in the sacred valley near Cuzco. The Natura Vive, Via Feratta (Italian for iron path) may have popped up on your social media feeds over the last few years as the world’s first thousand-star hotel/restaurant. This hotel is small, only three-luxury pod rooms and one dining sphere, all hanging on the side of a 450-metre cliff, constructed out of Plexiglas. An adrenaline generating semi-technical climb is the only way to access this incredible structure.

After an hour of instruction, I took the rear of a group of eight, clipping on to multiple iron rods staggered unevenly and vertically up a rock wall. My heart was pounding, and my knees were weak, but the healthy amount of fear I was experiencing kept me on task. I would periodically stop to look around and be completely blown away by what I was seeing and doing. I think the others in my group can attest that this was at times a roller coaster experience, sending us all into a wide range of emotions.

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Being served a three-course meal and a small glass of wine in a clear dome hanging over a beautiful valley with the only way out being vertical was one of those rewarding travel moments that has changed and challenged me.

In my experiences, both while travelling and in life, it has been the moments where I let go of comfort and stare fear in the face that have been the biggest passages to self-growth. So, in answer to my opening question, yes, I know you can be fearful and brave at the same time, they go hand-in-hand.

Gina Petrovich is a Kelowna-based wanderer with a knack for adventure. She’s now sharing her adventures with the Capital News in a bi-monthly column.


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