My first trip abroad was exciting. I went a third of the way around the world. I crossed an ocean. I met people who I could not understand. And yet I was right at home. It did not occur to me to be afraid. I walked around like I knew the place. I was nine years old.
And people accepted me there at that age too. They seemed to let me go where I wanted to. They smiled and even spoke some English. I thought of it as a different type of the place I lived.
Adults do not easily endeavor to travel to strange worlds.
They have a difficult time acclimating. They are not always welcomed like children.
In new places notice the differences instead of the similarities. As a child that was intriguing and fun. As an adult it can be scarier. Finding yourself in a place where people think and act in unfamiliar ways can be a shock.
In the next installment of the ShadowRay series I am writing, Runa Walker will experience this. I wanted to introduce my readers to this new world as Runa sees it for the first time. It’s a surreal feeling. It’s like a fish being drawn out of water. You may feel you can’t breathe. There were plenty of times I felt that way. I thought the best way to do some world building was to attach the reader’s view to another person experiencing it for the first time. It always helps to go to new places with someone else. Either way, we choose how to take the experience.
All of us must decide how we want to see new worlds; if we see them. We can be like children in their excitement. We could be ready to act like natives and just explore. Or we could hide away until it’s over. We could avoid people and find every excuse to leave.
I would say there are three basic types of people. There are those who stay young at heart. They seem to enjoy all the world has. They take crazy risks and don’t look back. There are some who hide completely in their false sense of security. They never leave their Hobbit holes at all. Then there are most of us who are somewhere in between. We take small risks and find a few treasures in the process. But we will probably not walk blindly down a dark ally. I’m a cautious explorer like that now.
But when I did get lost at nine years old in that big foreign city, I didn’t panic. I found my bearings and walked ahead. I did not give up. I may have only been a child. But that was to my advantage. I had very little fear to hold me back. I found my way and survived it.
It is that same spirit I try to pull into my adult life when I find myself in unfamiliar surroundings. When there are situations my adult life can barely handle, I call on that lost boy to help me find the way. He is positive and he doesn’t know fear.
New worlds don’t have to be limited to traveling abroad. A new world could be a new job or a new relationship. It could be trying things right outside your front door. You could be joining a group of people. You could be working on a project and presenting it. Maybe your new world is a lonely one. Maybe it’s scary or just unfamiliar. But if you can meet it head on; you may find the experience fulfilling.
I try every day to be like that boy again. I will continue to explore and discover new places. Or at least write about them. Maybe if Runa Walker can face her other worlds in my books; perhaps I can face mine too.