Lately, I often had people, especially women, say to me “I’d love to travel alone, but I’m afraid”.
I already wrote one post about Why I’m not scared to travel alone, but truth is, it should have been titled Why I’m not scared to travel alone anymore.
Because, yes, ladies and gentlemen, everybody, everyone of those travelers ranting about their adventures online, were scared on their first travel, even me.
The question is now, how to conquer that fear? How to prevent it from ruling your life?
The first ingredient is a severe case of wanderlust, but I’m guessing you already caught that one if you’re reading this. I felt it for months, maybe even years, before my first travel.
After that, all you need is the power to motivate yourself for just a few seconds at a time, just time enough to buy non-reimbursable tickets to wherever you want to go. It’s exactly what I did, and you can imagine that the mouse hovered over the “buy” button for some time while I was freaking out behind the computer. In the end, I just had to close my eyes and click, and that one microsecond of faith was enough to send me into my first solo trip, and all the ones after that.
The last thing you need is some pride. After ranting and dreaming about my trip for the months after buying the tickets, I twisted my ankle really bad a few weeks before the big day. The doctor told me that there was no way it was reasonable to do the trek I had planned at the start of my trip. I decided to go anyway.
The night before leaving, I lay awake in my bed, in complete freak out, wondering why I ever thought this would be a good idea, convinced that I was going to get lost and die somewhere overseas, calculating how much not going would make me loose money. In the end, the only thing that made me go in the morning was my pride. I couldn’t quit.
I was panicked the whole way to Scotland, getting lost more than once, never sure which bus to take, feeling completely inadequate for this kind of adventure (and I was, just read this).
Finally, it was when my feet, with my ankle in a strap, hit the trail, that I realized how right all of this was. I’ll remember forever the few first meters of this trail, how the trees looked, how there was a brook on my left, how I ran into one other trekker and one local walking his two dogs. The weather, the smells, the weight of my backpack, the slight pain in my ankle, everything was heaven and freedom.
My life changed that day, and I was not afraid anymore.
So, to all of you who are dreaming but too scared to actually go, let me tell you this: you will be scared, like everybody, on the first day, and also maybe on other occasions when things go wrong, because they sometimes do.
But you’re afraid in life sometimes also, and still you have to go through it, like going to the dentist or to your first job interview. Because if you didn’t do those things, you’d be left with a very uncomfortable life (your teeth would hurt and you would have no job and no money, how great are these examples).
And, frankly, which is worst? To be scared for a little time, or to spend all your life feeling this yearning and regret, like you might feel right now?
So find some courage for just a few seconds, book that ticket, and go. I never met anyone saying they regretted their decision to travel alone, I don’t see why you would be the first.
Is it booked yet?