Travel is a time for experiencing The New. Cultures, countries, views, food, architecture, people, music – you name it. But it is as well a time for experiencing The Old. Sometimes it is The Old Fear that has been with us for a long time and while in travel we feel strong enough to face it. To overcome it and leave it behind like an unnecessary luggage.
For Dani this kind of luggage was a fear of snakes. And so while looking on a map for new experiences on Penang island we have seen a Snake Temple… and decided to go for it. Take on the challenge. After reading that there are live snakes crawling around I had a vision of Indiana-Jones kind of a place, on the verge of a forest.
The temple itself is outside of Georgetown, a small building next to the airport quite in the middle of nowhere. You wouldn’t expect finding place with live snakes in this kind of surrounding. Nevertheless as we were approaching I could feel The Old Fear coming upon Dani. It took a lot of hesitation and finally courage to get into the temple where snakes were within the reach of hand, laying down on wooden parts of altars. You may know they are drugged with opious smoke. But still they are there, moving, hanging, simply being.
If this wasn’t enough, we’ve decided to go a step further towards The Old Fear. Scare it away, because once you stop running away, turn your face and step towards it – it loses its power over you. So, next to the Snake Temple there was a Snake Farm…
For most of the visitors there it was another curious attraction. Coming and going, taking fun pictures. For me it was a lot more – a strong experience of seeing the person you are travelling with facing her fears, and helping to go through this. Not even imagining how strong it was for Dani.
Travel advice – use the momentum to take on the things that were holding you back. Challenge yourself while being away using this state of mind of being already out of your comfort zone. Take a step further out of it and maybe it will leave some heavy luggage behind you. And help others to do so!
…and later on I got my turn of challenging one of my biggest personal fears in Bangkok…