I have ridden across three countries on a push bike, camped alongside a river and caught multiple sleeper trains on my own. There have been times where I have run out of money, have missed a flight because of an anxiety attack and have had my belongings stolen.
I have been in a country where rockets have been fired, meetings have been made to debate ‘war’ and people would walk onto a bus and sit down next to you with a machine gun. There have been horrible times where I have been sexually assaulted, been followed by men through parks and even thought I was being stalked. But I still continue to travel, and I always will.
Reading this probably makes you think that I’m pretty fearless. Even as I am writing this, I feel like a bad ass (solo female travel + rockets, say what?) but I’m going to intercept those thoughts and tell you I am not at all fearless nor am I a ‘bad ass’, as much as I wish I was. In all honesty, I am far from it. Hell be it, I still get scared walking down a suburban street…in the middle of the day.
But if there’s one thing that I won’t let fear get in my way of, it’s travel. Yes, I am still scared to travel and I think I’ll always be but when I weigh it all up, I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather be scared of. I know it’s one thing to say, and another to do, but I want to do my best to help you bite the bullet and get out there into this big, beautiful world, whether it’s by yourself or with a friend.
The 5 things that triumph any fear of travel
Overcoming fear = growth
In reality, what scares us most, is also what pushes, drives and challenges us. It’s what makes the highs worth the lows and the bittersweet moments of ‘I can’t believe I actually did that’ sink in ever more. A lot of the time I choose to travel solo, it’s because I want to see how capable I am. My bike ride is the perfect example of that – which you can read about here.
Bad things happen – whether you are travelling or not
As much as I wish this wasn’t the case, it’s just the way the big cookie of life crumbles. I know that going somewhere foreign makes it feel as though more things are likely to happen to you, but in reality, bad things happen everywhere you go, whether you like it or not. You are actually more at risk driving your car to work, then you are going to another country, how about that, hey?
The media sucks and you shouldn’t always listen to it
I’m sure we all know this by now, but the media can be a real b***h. It can trick us into thinking that a destination is too unsafe and that you should avoid travelling there at all costs. We only see the negatives blasted across our televisions come news hour, with things to be wary of, where to avoid and the horrific disaster zones. But what you don’t see, is what makes most of those places special. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advising you travel to declared war zones, but don’t trust everything that comes up on your 6pm news feed.
The good ol’ ‘If it was easy, everyone would do it’
Cheesy and cliché but 110% true. There are so many things that we put off due to fear, whether it’s travel related or not. One thing I’ve learnt, is that the ‘scarier’ it is, the more rewarded you’ll feel once you’ve overcome or achieved it. When you venture further off track, you’ll do the things the minority only get to experience. Plus, the accomplishment that you feel when you’ve been to somewhere you never thought you’d be able to, is pretty unreal. And yes, bragging rights are a thing and you should totally embrace them.
If you don’t want to be alone, you don’t have to be
Being in a foreign place is daunting enough, but when you factor in solo travelling, not knowing a single soul, nor being able to speak that country’s language, your freak out can go from 0 to 10, real quick. Not to fear though, you aren’t alone, no matter how much you think you are. Hostels are just as much a meeting place, as they are a place to rest your head. Chances are, the people that you are sharing your dorm with, will be just as happy to have a pal to hang around with as you are. I actually find it easier to make friends when I travel than I do when I am back home in my ‘safe space’.
I’m not hear to tell you that travelling isn’t scary – because it really is. But what I will say is that it is also the most rewarding, life changing and eye-opening thing that you can do. Fear shouldn’t be the thing blocking you off from witnessing the most incredible and diverse destinations. Nor should it stop you from being the very best version of yourself. Because there really is so much out there, waiting for you to jump out of that pesky comfort zone and explore.
All the love in the world,