Today, my show case feature is on Bayo Owolabi. He shares his feat on overcoming his fear of water. Be inspired!!
I was born in Abeokuta, a sleepy town in the south west of Nigeria and lived there for the first five years of my life. I have very vague memories of the place and some of the lingering vivid ones are; the trip to the photographer’s on my fifth birthday, a fearful Santa Claus we visited, and the terror I felt any time we drove over the bridge that traversed the River Ogun. From Abeokuta, it was off to Ibadan – a landlocked city with little in the form of aquatic delights. I was very afraid of anything bigger than a swimming pool. It might be genetic (if fear can cross generations) seeing that my mum is terrified of the sea till today.
I remember one time when we were visiting my mum in Lagos while she was completing a distance learning course. My dad took us all down to the lagoon front at UNILAG. When I saw the seemingly endless stretch of water, I almost lost my nerve. I wondered how my brother and sister could run right across the edge looking for pebbles and shells. All I could think of was being right in the middle of it all, sinking, unable to get away. It was not a fun time; I wore a brave face through it all but I was fascinated by the stuff. How deep is it? Where does it end? How can ships float and stones sink? I was enthralled.
Fast forward to today as I write floating about 80km off the West African coast on a ship. When I walk on the helipad and look out across the water, there is no fear. I love the heaving motion of the ship – I sleep so soundly because of the rocking. I can enjoy the view (and they can be gorgeous) and not bother that there is no quick way back to land. This is the Atlantic ocean, not the Lagos lagoon, but even the knowledge that there is a real risk does not cause me to degenerate into a bumbling mess like the little boy from yesteryears.
Growing up was a part of it, but I think ultimately it was that fascination overcame fear. It took me till the end of high school to take the first plunge into a swimming pool, and what a splash that made. I think after that first contact, I had a hold on the fear – tenuous, but there was something there. I still can’t swim properly but I now work on water. I’ve kayaked on a lake, punted in a river, jet skied on the sea and most recently snorkeled in the wonderfully azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Haha! The fear is gone.
I wish I could tell you the 10 steps to overcoming your fear, or 3 strategic principles to demolish that angst! But I had none of that through this journey. I took one step – off the edge of the pool, and followed one principle – don’t look back. And I guess this is the message, sometimes the only way to get a hold is to let go. Take precautions of course, don’t be stupid. Let someone who knows better know what you’re about to do, but take that first step. You never know where it’ll lead you. I certainly couldn’t do what I do now if I was going to lose my nerve each time I stepped out of the cabin. There will be no platform to deploy my knowledge/expertise. So, what are you afraid of? Go on! Jump!
View more photo’s of Bayo’s aqua-ventures below
Bayo Owolabi is a Deep water certified Drilling&Measurements Engineer. He’s in love with technology, photography, literature, arts and travel. He tweets @bhary0ur
“Please email email@example.com, if you would like to share your feat on my website. Remember that no feat is too small, be it finishing a whole book, or climbing the great wall of China.”
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