Are you going alone?  Do you have good tires?  Is your mom worried?  Can you speak the language?  Call me when you get Romathere?  Do you have a CB radio?

Yup yup yup. I did have a CB radio in my fiesty little VW Fox from Ohio to California. My 23-year-old-self didn’t know about gangster language yet.

I just go. Tromp through a strange country. Forage in the forest. Move where I don’t know the language. Work where the kids become gangsters after school. Sleep in a hostel or train compartment with strangers. Hitchhike down a mountain (just once, Olympus, had a blast).

Maybe I’m super lucky since nothing ‘bad’ has ever happened. Or maybe there was not, is not, will never be…a reason to be afraid.

I’m super organized, careful in new places, and do my research. I pored over the Delhi Airbnb listings for hours before picking Rohit, Siddhi, and their bungalow full of art. They offered all my meals the first day, help with transportation and shopping for saris, and assurance for my Idaho self that “snow is expressly forbidden on our terrace.”  Yippee!

You know how this goes. I’ll have Delhi friends for life.

Living with courage takes an element of trust. In yourself, others, the forest, mountain, culture…. I don’t see any other way to do it. The paradigm of the adventure tells me I’m going to be dumped into darkness and hardship.  OK, I will trust that too.  Sure, I’ve had things stolen, pretty darn inconvenient that time in Madrid. That’s why we cultivate resilience and carry phone numbers in the luggage. Just get over it and soak up the Prado anyway.

What’s the worst that can happen? We know how many men made it back home to Ithaca with Odysseus. Would they have traded the grand adventure for staying home?

There’s more to consider here. I’m dedicating January and February to Courage.  Stay tuned.