Thursday, 5 July 2012

Getting a grip

Today is a day of Africa nerves.

I'm leaving in a matter of days to do a job I've never done in a country I've never been to with people I've never met. I don't know where my house is or what it's like, I've never even talked to my colleagues, I haven't actually got any money for contingency or emergencies and I don't know what to take. Eek!

I have to give myself a little slap from time to time and ask myself 'what exactly am I scared of?'

I can list my fears, and when I do I suppose the fear does get a little bit better and more manageable. So here is a list of the things I'm scared of;

1. Death


I think I have to work on my list, really. If I force myself to expand a bit on that it looks like this:

1. Death by plane crash, (I HATE flying, I turn into a terrified, hyperventilating mess);
2. Death by exposure when I turn up at the airport and don't know where to go and no-one meets me and I get lost in the savannah;
3. Death by starvation because I haven't got enough money to buy nutrient rich food;
4. Death by lion because there are lions there;
5. Death by terrorist activity because you just never know...

Luckily I have a thought process that helps me when I get freaked out and nervous about things like this. You have to go with it, but here goes...

In the 12th century my favourite person in history (Eleanor of Aquitaine) joined her husband Louis VII on the second crusade. It didn't really go down well because she was a woman and she took a bunch of her girl friends with her. They branded themselves as 'Amazons' and joined the main army on it's massive trek from England to the Holy Land. Loads of stuff happened on the way, in Constantinople and Antioch etc, and on her way back her ship went off course and she was captured and ransomed by pirates.

She was also imprisoned by her second husband, Henry II, for helping her sons in a rebellion against their dad, she had a fair bit to do with damage contolling the whole Thomas Becket thing and in her 80's she rode across the Pyrenees to introduce one of her granddaughters to their betrothed. It might have been the Alps, actually, but still...

Anyway, the point is that people in history have done loads of nuts, amazing stuff and it blows my mind thinking of the capacity of the human spirit and the human body to do stuff, to get through trials and challenges. It is amazing. Eleanor of Aquitaine's life was amazing and it wasn't even a story! It was true!

Same as that guy who went mountain climbing and fell and got trapped under a boulder and chopped his arm off so he could survive.

Same as the Dalai Lama - in exile still promoting his message, his cause and his faith.

Same as Ffyona Campbell, who walked around the world and is a heroine of mine. Same as anyone who has every climbed Everest.

Aung Sang Suu Kyi is another one, Terry Waite, Nelson Mandela, PoW's, victims of natural disasters, the list goes on.

Juliane Koepcke. She was in a plane crash in the 70's in the Peruvian Amazon and survived the crash to find herself lost in the deep jungle, so she walked around for ages and found her way out, after having fights with crocodiles and scorpions, and surviving on nothing but sweets. She didn't even have anything with her - just the clothes on her back, AND to top it off she was only 16 or 17.

The world and it's history is alive with stories of bravery, spirit and survival. It's full with stories of people who have been through so many challenges and faced obstacles that they've had no choice but to overcome. Not just physical ones, but mental, emotional and spiritual, too.

And it makes me think how tiny I am.

And how f**king stupid I am for being so terrified of going to Zambia to work in an office.




  1. Good luck in Zambia Lucy. I'm sure you'll be ace. And keep blogging innit. x

  2. Oh I love your blog ! X

  3. Oh and I d give everything to be in your shoes leaving for Zambia or even joining Dan in his journey. You are both so lucky. Don't worry about a thing x


  5. you are one amazing woman miss dickenson, and an inspiration to all, you faced your fears, love and respect to you. i remember a little girl who wanted to be just like you, wanted to change the world and make it better and you make it better just by being you, she makes it better just by being her, she even wanted the dreds just like lucy but at 10yrs old you managed to talk her out of it, i see alot of you in her, in her way of thinking. you are one of lifes true jewels xxxxxxxx