Azadi Tower - Tehran, Iran
I have been doing a fair amount of travel lately. I have developed a tradition of picking up a few of the cool trendy magazines when I am at airports. They range from surfing mags, fitness, technology, business, psychology and of course travel. My attention is drawn to the beautiful pictures of exotic and far away lands. I love traveling for business and pleasure (not TOO much travel though, it has to be in balance. I'm still working on that part.). Last week while in-route from New Jersey I picked up a travel Magazine called AFAR. It has gorgeous pictures and some good articles. The moment I read the Founder's Note, I thought, "I need to meet this Greg Sullivan guy sometime. It would be interesting sharing a few beers and stories with him."
Here is his Founder's Note that inspired me:
I'm in Tehran, on the back of a motorcycle being driven by a random guy off the street who speaks no English. We are in a dedicated bus lane passing one bus as another heads straight for us. I yell to my friends behind me (did I mention there are three of us on the bike?), "I hope he knows what he's doing!"
I think back to a recent talk I heard by Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. He said,
"We are all afraid to die. It's in our DNA. But we should not be afraid to live."
As the bus closes in on us, I think, maybe I'm pushing this living boldly thing too far.
Obviously, we survived. It was one of those uncomfortable moments that becomes a good story once you get back home.
I think a lot about fear and how it affects us. Our judgment, not our fears, should rule our actions. Some of my friends thought I shouldn't go to Iran. If I had told them I was going to get on a motorcycle, they might have had a good case. But Iran is actually quite safe. Our governments don't agree on a lot, but that doesn't make visiting the country dangerous. When governments are at odds, I believe it's even more important to get to know a place and its people.
Tehran was fascinating, and full of interesting, curious people. I might not get on that motorcycle again, but I would definitely o back to Tehran.
We each have to make decisions about what we're going to fear. But if we only do what's comfortable, then what is life?
AFAR Cofounder & CEO
Obviously, you have to be smart when you travel. Being a defensive tactics trainer and having done my fair share of traveling to countries on the "Travel Advisory" list, I'm not advocating that you should put yourself in harms way for a trip. However, I think we have to go into things understanding the risks. Both the risk of going AND the risks of denying yourself the experience of life's adventure. Be a leader. Set the pace. Make a smart decision for you. Life is risky and none of us are getting out alive. So, be mindful about your risk assessment. That's also one of the reasons I train, so I can make better decisions for myself, not just play into fear, whether my own or someone else's.