Risk versus Reward…Where do you stand?

On July 29th, 2015

a day with lions in Livingstone, Zambia - the gift of travelWhen my dad talked to me about stocks, my eyes glazed over. It didn’t matter what cost benefit analysis he gave me, I was a risk adverse kind of kid. To his dismay, I was always happy with money under the mattress or in the bank. Even though it couldn’t go up, I knew it couldn’t disappear. I’m sure the pundits would disagree with me, but it’s how I always felt. Then travel happened.

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore” – William Faulkner

In the early stages of my travels, there was limited risk. I was lucky enough to take Caribbean holidays at all-inclusive resorts and participate in domestic US travel. University started to expand that friendly risk factor – although I don’t believe myself and I ever had the conversation of risk versus reward. I slowly dipped my toes into international waters with a group tour to Israel and then a Western Europe backpacking journey with two friends. I wouldn’t trade those sand-filled beach holidays for anything and my time spent in Orlando, Florida with family has made me a Disney fan for life, but; I branched out.

“Never was anything great achieved without danger.” –Niccolo Machiavelli

I remember those conversations with my parents about that first trip to Israel and the backpacking abroad. I could hear their fear about global situations and understood that this wasn’t something either of them had done in their youth. There was risk. Of course, all things involve risk-the thought of air travel alone is often enough to raise blood pressure for some, yet, I find we forget how much risk is involved in just crossing the street in front of our own homes. The desire to experience new cultures came with great risk, but for me, the reward was worth it.

“Fortune sides with him who dares.” -Virgil

As my dad continued through the years to talk to me about finances, the glaze stayed steady, but; some information began to filter in and growth took place. I still wasn’t thrilled about the idea of full on risk in the stock market, but my travel risk-taking ability was changing. That first taste was enough to blow the roof off concern and allow for the thought process of wading in further to take shape. One of my best friends is the dive in headfirst kind of person, but for me, that wasn’t the case.

“To take that risk, to offer life and remain alive, open yourself like this and become whole.” –Margaret Atwood

Steadily, my fear of risk decreased as my comprehension of reward grew. The inverse graphic was apparent and the greater desire for what I believed to be ‘reward’ lessened the dreaded risk. Flying further, changing planes, solo travel, third-world destinations and longer-term travel soon became the norm. It wasn’t headfirst, but it was deeper than I’d ever gone before and each time, it got a bit more exciting and a bit less frightening.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” –Helen Keller

I found middle ground. I stayed away from war-torn regions, I didn’t have the need to be the first person to ever explore unchartered territory and I ALWAYS took travel insurance. Soon, reward usurped trepidation. The gifts were far greater than the anxiety and the joy of conquering that fear of risk even added to the reward.

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” –John F. Kennedy

I’m still not a full on fan of the stock market. I understand its significance, I respect its possibilities and I even dabble a little. I’ve slept on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, gone cliff diving, walked with lions and been licked by a cheetah. It seems, like everything, that little by little borders soften, boundaries grow and even the most risk adverse among us grow comfortable with some risk in order to be able to experience life’s great rewards.

“And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)…Kid, you’ll move mountains.” –Dr. Seuss

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To find more of Stacey’s travel musings, check out her blog.

Image: flocu (shutterstock)