Travel Magazine

Afraid to Travel Solo

By Geraldine Forster @backpackerGerri

FEAR…. Forever Evading Alternate Roads.

I receive umpteen e-mails and messages from people, stating they would love to do what I am doing, but are afraid to do it alone

Fear is the biggest deterrent against living life as we truly wish to live it.

One worries about being attacked and robbed. What if they have an accident or become ill? Where will they stay and how will they cope on our own? They can even think we are too old, or far too young! The days pass, whilst they agonise over a thousand and one negative possibilities. They dream of traveling and visiting wonderful places, but FEAR holds them back. They amble through life on their familiar, safe but often boring, mundane road. Woefully “forever evading alternative routes” They don’t realize that life begins at the end of their comfort zone.

They are scared about all the bad things that may or may not happen if they venture out of their safe little havens. Unhappily they are imprisoned in a state of fear that prevents them from fulfilling their dreams.

Fear and I were old enemies! During many, years I lived every day afraid of this monster that controlled my life. I would get severe panic attacks on a regular basis. I feared crowds and queues. I avoided going alone to many places. If I was in a traffic jam I would freak out, often leaving the car parked on the side of the road. Not to mention heights! The mere thought of going more than two stories high would send me into a fluster. Consequently, I understand how difficult it is for those who suffer the same affliction. 

I didn’t want to look back on my life and think “IF ONLY” I was determined that I would overcome my problem whatever it took. Believe me, I am living proof that it can be done.” We can all overcome our fears no matter how  big or how small.

Afraid to Travel SoloI traveled round the world solo and it was just the best experience of my life. I went to the top of the incredible Trump Towers in New York, what a tragedy they are no longer. I happily crossed the deck of the Petronas Twin towers, Kuala Lumpur, unbelievable but a fact. I even enjoyed the birds eye view from the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah Dubai. I kicked the butt of all my jitters, apprehension and worries. You can too!

They say, “When you make friends with fear, it can no longer rule you. Never a truer phrase. There is only one way through! Do it! Go ahead and do it! Think of yourself as a cork in the sea. You will bob up and down, but never sink! Remember whatever happens in a faraway land can also happen in your own home town. In my most difficult moments, I always ask myself. “What is the worst that could possibly happen?” Normally not a lot!

Golly gosh, I can almost hear you saying, “Oh dear, I would be traveling alone!” No! my dear friends! you will hardly ever do that! Think about it! When you fly, are any other passengers on the plane? Of course, there are. Even if the plane was empty, you would at least be accompanied by the pilot and the crew. The same applies to the trains, buses and boats. In fact, sometimes you will probably wish you were the only one traveling.

Are you asking yourself where would you stay? Hostels are the answer. One of the reasons I stay at hostels is because they are cheap as chips. Plus, they offer so many amenities to make your stay perfect. Secondly, it is far easier to start chatting to people and even make friends. There is something about most backpackers that makes them very approachable. Before you know where you are, you will be happily conversing about this and that to one and all.

Concerned about falling ill? Not such a problem. Make sure you have a good travel insurance. Contrary to what many people imagine, many of the Asian countries are truly amazing when it comes to medical care. Thailand is beyond par. Singapore is a highly-developed country. Many Asians and Westerners go there for medical treatment. India and Malaysia are also listed as being excellent.

Believe me whatever your darkest imagination conjures up. The reality is far less scary. Life is for living! Please don’t allow the feeling of anxiety and dread stop you for making the most of every minute that you are on this earth.

I am a firm believer that we should all follow our dreams. There is a beautiful Spanish song that says: - ‘My friend, if you want, you can and if you can, you must”

Still got misgivings? Read this amazing book: - Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action by Susan Jeffers 

 

Afraid to Travel Solo

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