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For every minute that I am excited about the idea of travelling with the children, there are at least five where I experience The Fear.

It’s not a new parenting experience for me; when Alfie was a baby I would fall asleep every night convinced he wouldn’t survive the night. Now, I’m worried that I will send my children to a fiery death by riding off the road in Mexico, or that they’ll be shot by bandits because they refuse to give up their tablets.* 

These are useful fears, designed to make me think long and hard about my choices as a parent, because I am, at heart, a fearful person. That may seem surprising when talking to someone who has driven a 10-second quarter mile, bouncing back from heart failure, and immigrated to the other side of the world, but it's true. I'm Baby from Dirty Dancing, without the dancing. I'm the Baby getting all hot and breathy when Johnny says that she's not scared of anything:
Me? I'm scared of everything! I'm scared of what I saw. I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all ... yadda, yadda, dance with me ... here *pouty face*
And I totally get what she's saying. It's so tempting to walk along the same easy path as everyone else; there's safety in anonymity, there's herd immunity from judgement. It's scary to deviate from that path and be the straggler at the edge of the pack that makes easy pickings for predators. But, it's also scary to think of walking that same easy path knowing it won't make you happy.

Personally, I'm scared that I'm responsible for educating my children. I'm scared of depriving them of their friends, of putting them in danger and most of all ... I'm scared of leaving this life, something happening, and never feeling again as happy as I do right now.

It’s not a bad thing for me to weigh the value to my children of travelling through countries a million miles from their own. It’s an important process in deciding whether this is the right thing for our family, not just a dream that we are imposing on them. It's the same question mark that hung over us in the UK: What if we take a leap of faith, and we fall? 

I don't mind giving The Fear space in my life because it's a self-negating prophecy. Every time I ask “what if ...” I give myself a chance to research, and plan, and mitigate. That helps me avoid the most obvious and predictable of dangers.

But what about the fears that are less easy to control? The ones that Baz Luhrmann describes in Sunscreen:
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. 
For someone who makes a living from turning chaos into order that thought is tantamount to an instant aneurysm. For someone with an extremely vivid imagination, it's enough to make me never want to leave the house again. As for the children, GET TO YOUR ROOM AND COME OUT OUT WHEN YOU ARE 21!!! 

The truth is that there is literally no end to what crosses my worried mind. If my worried mind were allowed to spend some quality time unsupervised, it would come up with the love child of a Dr Who season finale plot twist, and an Andrea Dworkin documentary.

It's a tightrope over a river of certain and gruesome death, and I walk it every day.      

* That may seem like a crazy fear to have, but I have no doubt that if faced by a man with a gun, Alfie would fight to his last breath rather than risk the loss of his precious Minecraft.

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