Fear of travelling is real. Both new and experienced travellers encounter fear. Some people’s fears prevent them from exploring new destinations. Others have a scary incident and move on. Fear of travelling can look quite different but it’s on people’s minds.
People are genuinely curious. It’s the number one question I get asked. Repeatedly, I get asked.
“Are you afraid on your travels?”
“What was your scariest moment?”
“Aren’t you scared to travel alone? “
I never have to consider my answer.
I respond with a resounding, “Yes. I have a faithful travel mate that consistently accompanies me.”
is its name.
It’s such a short word, paltry in fact, but it packs such a punch. It can totally blindside me and overwhelm my thinking in an instant. It is REAL.
Four years ago when I lived in the blue jungle house in Costa Rica, I refused to take my camera out of the safe. I had heard stories from real people about stolen electronics. I had visions of my camera being ripped from my neck.
Fear was ruling me.
The Costa Rican jungle is dark at midnight. Incredibly dark. Can’t see your hand in front of your face dark. And yet there I was, my heart beating faster than a rabbit’s as I followed my headlamp’s beacon along the pitch-black road.
I was meeting my daughter at a designated corner. The unfamiliar jungle sounds were amplified in the still night air. Adrenalin was pounding through my body.
I was petrified.
In Medellin, Colombia, a down-and-out man high on drugs reached through the window of my cab to grab my phone. You can bet I was scared.
The trick, I have discovered, is to ride the ebb and flow of the fear tide.
I name FEAR and I give it a talking to. Something along these lines…
“Fear you are NOT powerful enough to stop me in my tracks.
Nor make me rethink my journey.
Sorry, Fear. You are trumped by curiosity.
For there is a whole world to be discovered.
Too bad Fear. My sense of adventure outweighs you.
Adios Fear. I’ve got some dreams to follow.”
Somehow it works. I feel bold and courageous. Ready to take on the world.
Here are my tips for getting out of your comfort zone and facing your travel fears head-on.
Fear of Travelling: How to Face it and Embrace it
1. Listen To Your Intuition
Intuition is your #1 secret ally.
Listen to your gut.
Use your gut to help you make long thought-out decisions and split-second choices. Tune in. You won’t regret it.
2. Fear Of Travelling: Awareness
Pay attention. Observe. Listen. Be alert. The scam I fell for in Paris happened when I was daydreaming and totally unaware… The bracelet that was instantly tied around my wrist, with a hefty price tag, was an innocent mistake.
3. Fear Of Travelling: Be Informed
Anything can be googled these days. Figure out your arrival times and make a plan for when you get somewhere new. Ask questions. Talk to other travellers, they are the best source of information. Ask more questions. Talk to locals. They are the ultimate experts. Being prepared reduces the fear factor immensely.
4. Fear Of Travelling: Trust
Mix a little intuition, awareness and information and it builds a sense of confidence. This diminishes the fear, increases empowerment and makes space for trust.
Trust comes floating in, enabling you to relax and be open to possibilities. Who knows what you may discover? Or who.
5. Be Open
One of the best parts of travelling is the experiences and encounters that are unexpected. The ones that might not appear on an air-tight travel itinerary.
The world is bursting with graciousness and kindness. Meeting beautiful, humble people around the world has rekindled my belief in the goodness of humanity.
6. Fierce Determination
As author Erica Jong says, “I’ve not ceased being fearful, I’ve gone ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says: turn back, turn back, you’ll die if you go too far.”
That camera? It came out of the safe. The nighttime jungle sounds became familiar and my incident in Colombia was a good warning to pay close attention.
Fear of travelling is real. Don’t let it stop you. Listen to it.
There are dreams to follow and journeys to be had.
Attitude is everything. Go for it.
Chase your dreams.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion with one’s courage.”
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Let me know your travel tips for facing fear. Anything to add? Agree? Disagree?