Many of us still have fears associated with taking the leap and traveling to a new culture and land. How can we overcome those travel fears so that we can explore the world and gain a new perspective on other cultures, and ourselves? Luckily for us, traveling around the world has never been easier. For the majority of recorded history, travel was inhibited by technological barriers along with social ones. You couldn’t simply decide to uproot yourself and travel to some far-flung pocket of the world. In most instances, you would have to save up vast sums of money just to travel relatively short distances. Even if money wasn’t an issue, time certainly was. Now with modern advances in technology, travel has become ubiquitous, and tourism is thriving. So let’s overcome our travel fears and explore the big world that awaits us.
The Benefits Of Traveling
If you are on the fence, or nervous, about traveling, pause and reflect on the enormous benefits that come with travel and exploration. Most of those with hesitations surround travel almost always report that they don’t travel more because they don’t like going alone. I would argue the point that traveling alone is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about yourself and build up inner-confidence. When you are alone, you have no one tangible with you to lean on. You have to struggle through things. And while this is scary, it can lead to some revelations about who you actually are. Everyday life is inevitably monotonous and safe. We all have routines. When we stick to those regular routines, we never challenge ourselves. It is only when you are alone do you realize how much you can actually achieve.
I found this to be no more accurate than when I went to Spain for the first time. Visiting from Iceland, I did not know Spanish and I had never experienced Spanish culture. I will admit, almost instantly when I arrived in Spain, I suffered culture shock. Couldn’t speak to anyone, I frequently became lost, and I didn’t know what to do. I eventually grounded myself and realized the only way I was going to find my experience pleasurable was to learn a bit of Spanish. I purchased a pocket dictionary and phrasebook and proceeded to butcher the language at every possible opportunity. Found by the end of my trip I could form broken phrases and ask simple questions. This changed my perception of the journey. I had never imagined being able to pick up the basics of Spanish so quickly, However, by the end of my trip, I felt accomplished.
The quickest way to progress in life is to free yourself from your comfort zone. Travel, especially to a country with a widely different culture and foreign language, is the quickest way to do this. Don’t underestimate yourself. You need only to buy a plane ticket and believe in yourself. You will be amazed at the things you can accomplish.
Common Travel Fear #1: I Don’t Have Enough Money To Travel
I used to think that traveling to the far off locations I daydreamed about as a child were impossible to reach. I always assumed I never had enough money to go and explore the world. This isn’t true. We all have bills, we all have expenses. However, when you get stuck in a routine, you become blind to things you purchase that you really don’t need. If you have any fears associated with travel that stem from monetary concerns, consider minimizing your life or downsizing. Decide what the absolute essentials are to live day to day, and cut everything else out. By adopting a more minimalist lifestyle, you will quickly find that the money you always thought you never had was actually in front of you the entire time. If it is indeed your desire to travel (especially internationally), then you need to be vigilant with your spending and budget. Budget. Budget. Budget. I promise, with a little hard work and effort, you will enough saved up in no time for your dream trip, wherever that may be.
Common Travel Fear #2: I Won’t Make Friends or I’ll Be Alone
Everyone is different. We all have different backgrounds, preferences, and personalities. Some of us are introverts, extroverts, and others lie somewhere in the middle. Being an introvert, like myself, can raise serious anxieties about traveling alone in a foreign country. The idea of never making friends on your travels can infest your mind like a cyclical plague. For me, that was my own biggest personal hurdle. I imagined myself being alone on my travels and never having anyone to share it with. This is a fallacy. I am a firm believer that if you put out positive energy, you will get back positive energy. When traveling alone, always remember to be friendly and smile. Find bars or restaurants that are specifically for expats of your home country, or throw yourself into uncomfortable situations and go to where the locals are. I have found that most locals are generally interested in where you come from and your culture. They will be warm and accepting of you as long as you are of them. You will make friends, I promise.
Make Your Travel Dreams Come True: Strike While The Iron Is Hot
If you have the travel bug itching away at you now, don’t ignore it. One day you could wake up, and those plans you had to visit Morocco, or Iceland, or Thailand in the near future will have passed you by. No time is better to start planning than now. Pick a place you have always wanted to go to. Start researching the culture now. Make a rough itinerary and refine it day by day. Begin setting aside money immediately. If you make your travel plans a part of your daily life, they become part of your daily routine. And, the next thing you will know is that you have the plan, you know the culture, and you have the money to visit.
Overcoming Your Travel Fears
It is ironic that I am writing a blog post about this very topic. I always thought my dreams of visiting other countries and cultures were just that, dreams. I was too nervous to set anything in motion because I didn’t think I had enough money, or that I wouldn’t be able to make friends along the way. Then, at the behest of a dear friend, I threw caution to the wind. I picked a place I had always wanted to visit and made it my singular goal for the immediate future. I saved, I planned, I researched, I learned a bit about the language and culture before going, and the next thing I knew I was boarding a plane to a country across the world. Took a leap of faith in myself and in the universe. That trip ended up being a formative experience in my life. I became an entirely different person. And, all of that wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t take the leap. Take the leap. Trust yourself. Go on an adventure, and who knows, it could change your life.
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