“What is your biggest fear?”
A voice hits my ears as soon as I finish my talk. I scan the room and spot a little girl with glasses holdind a mic. There is pin-drop silence in the room with dozens of eyes staring at me. I look at people’s faces for an answer, but their faces are blank. From the depths of silence, a howl of the wind rises. The world around me starts to melt. I see flashes of me cycling on a long road—the sun has set—my body is aching—and my eyes are looking for a place to camp. I follow a little trail off the main road and there it is—a place big enough to pitch the tent. I set up my camp with frozen hands and collapse on the air mattress.
In a parallel universe, I am on a comfy couch at home watching TV. It is safe from all dangers. No wild animals, cold rain, wind, or harsh sunlight can threaten me. It has a mini library and a cosy place to read. There is a shower, walls to hang paintings, and electricity to charge all my devices. These are all luxuries I don’t have while camping out in the wilderness. Then why leave home?
We humans have evolved as nomads. Our ancestors were always on the move foraging for food. It is after they started growing crops that they settled permanently in one place. Today, deep down, our nomad souls yearn to be at unfamiliar places. We long to be vulnerable because we thrive in the face of danger. It is not our home but the wild environment where our genetic profiles optimally fit.
We evolved, not because of the certainty but due to the unpredictability of surroundings. Nowadays, there is no environmental pressure on us to evolve. The survival instincts that helped us survive for such a long time, they don’t get used very often. The world may have changed since the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, but our evolutionary behaviour hasn’t. Perhaps, that’s why we feel detached from ourselves. We have lost the sense of being alive that otherwise comes from adventure in the wilderness.
We think we are home, but we are not.
Back in the presentation room, everyone awaits my reply.
“The fear of getting stuck in one place for too long!” I answer after an extended pause.