Reviewed by Weng Yi Wong
Having a bad case of wanderlust during a global pandemic is the pits. Before, we had time constraints, economic barriers or logistical difficulties to crush our dreams of travelling to faraway lands. Now, the uncertainty of when international travel can resume again has put a definitive end to any immediate plans for foreign adventure.
Nevertheless, there is no shortage of memoirs, blogs or guidebooks to help us vicariously (if not a little wistfully) live out our travel dreams.
Making its own contribution to this catalogue of travel stories is Fearless Footsteps, a collection of personal tales curated by the popular travel writing platform IntrepidTimes.com, and edited by Nathan James Thomas and Jennifer Roberts.
Fearless Footsteps offers up a delightful selection of “true stories that capture the spirit of adventure”. With a central theme of showcasing the hair-raising and adrenaline-filled moments of travel, this collection invites readers to witness intimate experiences of people overcoming their fears abroad. In the process, readers share in the wonder of life-changing encounters that inspire and hearten.
Such anecdotes traverse the terrifying moment a rock-climber falls down the side of a cliff in British Columbia (“Up or Bust”) to conquering a crippling fear of flying (“Believing in Nothing”). Elsewhere, there’s an alarming experience hitchhiking in Kilkenny (“Where Are You From? Where Are You Going?”), and the apprehension and eventual triumph of overcoming language barriers while working in a Swiss hospital (“The Art of Speaking Fearlessly”).
The journeys, life lessons, and joys that each contributor shares are a reminder that travel can afford us an opportunity to challenge ourselves and face our fears. Travel can completely subvert our worldviews and offer unique perspectives on culture, people and how to live a life. From these stories, it is also apparent that fear can manifest in a multitude of ways, and that travel can mean something different to us all. However, this is all part of the magic of meeting new people, places and exploring the world, and why so many of us seek adventure abroad.
But, for the moment, put away the passport and take out this book. It’s time to read now, travel later.
Fearless Footsteps is available from exislepublishing.com and wherever good books are sold. RRP $29.99.