Back in 2004, Matt and I were getting ready to go to Africa for the first time. (Side note- OK, so technically we were preparing for our second trip to Africa, if you count the first time in 2001. While in Malaga in Southern Spain, we took a day trip to Tangiers, Morocco in North Africa just for lunch. Note that it was a good lunch- quite worth the ten hour round-trip- but Tangiers is bit like going to Tiajuana for the day and saying you’ve been to Mexico. Anyway.) Simply put, I was fucking terrified. This camping safari through the Serengeti in Kenya and Tanzania was, at the time, so far out of my traveling comfort zone that I was absolutely riddled with fears.
OK side note again. (I’d apologize but it’s my fucking blog). My biggest fear was literally being eaten by a lion while sleeping in my tent on the Serengeti. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to sleep knowing that at any moment, I would be swallowed (and chewed) by a lion. To prepare, Matt and I visited the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, which has a fantastic Serengeti exhibit, run by actual Serengenti Masai warriors. I relayed my fears about the upcoming trip to one of the warriors, who looked at me strangely and asked, “Why would you think that?” And I explained that when camping in Seattle, we live in mortal fear that black bears will eat us through our tents. (I should note here that it should surprise no one that I do not camp.) He was confused by this fear, as it turns out only bears exhibit this behavior towards humans. Well done Seattle for featuring creatures who will eat me for sport. (Fuck you bears, Stephen Colbert was right) But the Masai warrior said that lions avoid humans because they think we “stink.” While I was revelling in a unique combination of relief and deep insult, he did offer up this helpful tip: Make sure I check behind myself for snakes before I dropped trou to pee. I believe it goes without saying that I spent the entire safari in a state of low-level panic about this, and actively chose dehydration over filling my bladder.
So back to my actual blog post…Matt and I were out to dinner with our friends Scott and Willow, and I confided my anxiety about the upcoming safari. And I will never forget what Scott said next: He looked at me closely, and said:
“Yeah, but if it scares you, it will be awesome.”
People, that is profound. In fact, I’ve quoted Scott repeatedly over the last twelve years since he originally said it. And you know what? It’s TRUE. That Kenyan safari was mind-blowing, life-changing, and opened me up to a lifetime of adventure travel throughout the world.
So on that note, things are awesome here.
I had mentioned in a previous blog that I played live host to our company’s Executive VP. While I don’t have any fear of public speaking, I do have a visceral fear of fucking up my career, so it goes without saying that this was scary. But last night I was informed that things were about to get even more awesome: About a month ago, I’d applied to be a speaker for a London convention for women in technology. I had an idea that speaking about the plate in my skull, and how the accident served to reframe my narratives and change my perception of obstacles, would be an informative, unique presentation. But I hadn’t heard anything regarding my submission, and quite frankly stopped thinking about it.
At 10pm last night I received an email inviting me to present this talk. Which is in two weeks. One of which I’ll be spending drunk and sunburned in Albania. Which leaves me one week to write and memorize a talk that doesn’t yet exist, build a Powerpoint presentation, and somehow find the ballz to talk about this very difficult subject in front of a (as of today) SOLD-OUT audience of strangers.
This should be interesting.