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Don’t we know it all, we are traveling to a new country, we haven’t been before and by the time we arrive there it hits us hard. Being scared while traveling is very common and nothing to be ashamed of. Especially when you are traveling solo there are many moments when you don’t feel comfortable in your skin and you’d maybe wished to be at home or someplace familiar. I know this feeling very well, I have it many times, especially in the first week of my trips. Though over time I figured out some ways to overcome the most regularly occurring fears and I will show you how you can too face your fear and start enjoying your trip. Are you ready? Okay let’s get stared.
Before we start figuring out and facing those fears I need to tell you something very important.
Having those personal fears, is very human and nothing to be ashamed or too concerned about. Even the most routinized travellers between us are facing those fears on a regular basis. Some of them are also known as the culture shock. It’s perfectly human to be scared and feel lost when you arrive to a country you’ve never been to before.
However, know that fear, is only an illusion. Fear doesn’t exist. Fear is something that is caused in your mind through thought. Our minds are creating thoughts upon circumstances, it gets attached to time in the sense of past and future and because our mind is so imaginative it creates various scenarios of what might happen in the future or gets too concerned about what happened in the past. We think our thoughts about past and our future are the ultimate truth and inevitable and therefore fear of those things happening creeps in. However, if you stop to identify with past and future, if you let go of the thoughts that cause your feelings then you’ll be free of fear too.
In this moment, there is no time and therefore no reason to fear. If there would be no tomorrow, no future, would you be afraid now? If there wouldn’t be a past, if you didn’t know about anything that has happened throughout your life, would there be fear? No! There is no fear in the present moment. So, the first step to overcoming any fear is to free yourself from past and future, to disidentify from your thoughts.
Though as it’s not so easy to let go of your thought and face your fear, there are some Mindset changes you can adapt to make it easier. Once you are aware of your fears you need to face them. You need to act to overcome them and start enjoying your trips. Otherwise they will become bigger and bigger and you will stop to travel because you’re only having negative attached feelings with it. And that would be a shame, because traveling is something so rewarding and life changing. So actively decide to challenge and face your fear you and start enjoying your time abroad. Now let’s get more specific.
The first fear, and probably the most common one is the fear of the unknown and with it the fear of change. Change for many people is something scary because they don’t know what is coming. They are just so used to their routine and environment, that they get the hell scared when they’re put out of their comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong, routine is great and it’s awesome to feel comfortable at a place, though you need change to grow and you need to challenge the unknown to experience new opportunities and develop as a person. If you always stay in the same little space you will never be able to expand your knowledge or skills and you will stagnate character wise.
That is why you need to overcome this fear and get comfortable to travel to places you don’t know anything about it.
The fear of change is best overcome by adapting the believe that you need change in order to be happy. As I said, change is necessary for you to grow and you need to grow to see new opportunities that will bring you happiness. To overcome the fear of change you need to actively step out of your comfort zone. Start little, with small things like changing your morning routine or something like that. And then once you are ready get bigger and start changing bigger things. When you are on a trip, just arrived in a new country, remind yourself that change is good, it keeps you moving and growing and delivers a lot of new, amazing opportunities. I know it can be scary. To be honest I’ve been the hell scared the past few days because everything her is new and unfamiliar. I don’t know anyone or anything but I’ll find my way. And the funny thing is in a few weeks I will fell stupid about having that fear in the first place because I will have grown into whatever challenge this was. So, don’t fear the unknown, go challenge it.
Second common fear to face, especially when traveling solo: the fear of being alone and feeling lonely. I know, no one wants to feel lonely, it’s a shit feeling. Though being alone and being lonely are two different shoes. Traveling solo can be a very awesome thing and I recommend everyone to do it. And being alone while traveling is definitely not something you have to fear. First of all, you are never really alone, there are always people around you, especially when you are staying in hostels. Second, being alone sometimes is a good thing as you can take that time to really reflect and learn about yourself. Third, you might be feeling lonely but you are not, you have a lot of awesome friends and family at home. They might be some distance away, but they are always there for you and only a phone call is between you and them.
So, the fear of being alone is actually an easy one to face. All you have to do is get out there and meet people. Meeting new, awesome people has never been easier then while traveling. Believe me. Also start to value and actively look for time alone to reflect and get to know yourself better. It’ll be worth it. Trust me.
This is technically no real fear but also a struggle you might face during your travels. Being overwhelmed by all those new and amazing things and people around you can be very common. I to be honest have it every time I go somewhere new. I just don’t know where to start with exploring and whom to get to know first. This is then developing further into total overload of new information and the fear of missing out (which we will talk about below). You can’t do anything about the fact that going someplace new will always be an information overload and very few people can really deal with so much information at once. However, there’s something you can do though.
First, breath. Calm down and tell yourself to take it one step at a time. You’ve got all the time in the world, right? You are traveling, after all. So, relax, take a map and get started with your planning process. If you’re like me, a very organized person, you might have already done some research and have some ideas of places you don’t want to miss out on. Then it might me a good idea to start there. Otherwise, just randomly pick a place on the map and start exploring. There’s no right or wrong with exploring. Just get started and everything else will follow.
I know this just too well. You look at the map or at your list of places you must see and suddenly you get this tight feeling in your chest, aka panic that you don’t have enough time to see it all. Well, it’s time to breathe deeply, calm down and target that fear with strategy. The fear of missing out is something that not only but also arises while traveling as there literally is a lot you will miss out on. Sorry for saying it like that. However, there’s an easy way to overcome it.
Accept the fact that you can’t see everything. No matter how long you are going to spend in one place, there’s always something you will miss. But to overcome this fear you have to stop focusing on what you might miss and start focusing on what you will experience. No matter where you go you will see many amazing things. Yes, maybe even things no one has seen before. And seeing those things will be worth missing out on other things that other people might have seen. It is your trip, so focus on what you want to see and not on what others have seen. Appreciate your experiences and be grateful for what you got to see. You will end up where you are supposed to be.
This is also a fear that not only but also arises while traveling. It comes up as soon as you realize you are thinking too much of what can happen and therefore stop enjoying your travels. However, failing or making mistakes is nothing to fear. There will be bad days on your travels, there will be mistakes, hard times and struggles. Though there will also be awesome times, great memories and fun moments. And it is on you what you concentrate on. Failing is human and like everything traveling has its ups and down.
Start living in the moment. Stop thinking too much about what can or might happen. If something bad happens, you’ll deal with it. You are strong enough to handle it and such experiences will make you stronger. Look at it as learning experience rather than a failure and stop worrying about things you can’t control. Rather start enjoying the moment and get out there and explore.
The last fear we’ll deal with today is the fear of overestimating yourself. Am I really cut for this? A questing I ask myself frequently during my travels. Am I ready to do this? Am I going to be strong enough to handle it if it goes overboard? All these things are popping up in my head when I get somewhere new. Though there’s an easy way to overcome this fear.
Have faith in yourself. Think of all the struggles and challenges you’ve overcome yet and that made you stronger. There’s hardly anything you can’t deal with. Sometimes it is also necessary here, to shut down your thoughts and just get started. Everything else you’ll figure out on the way. Stop questioning your capability cause we both know what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right? So, get out of your own way and start enjoying.
You are stronger and more powerful than you think. You might face challenges and setbacks and difficult situations on your trip but you will grow and learn upon them. So, don’t be afraid to face your fear and learn. There is nothing that’s so bad that it can’t be good again. Trust in your instinct and human ability to heal and deal with anything that might happen. Because you can!
Now that you know how to overcome those fears I hope you stop feeling lost and can start enjoying your trip. On last thing, I want to say is, that it’s normal to feel lost in the first week of your travels. I do it to, all the time. Having a culture shock and not knowing what to do is perfectly human. Just take the time to adjust and you’ll see sooner or later you will start enjoying your time there and after a few weeks you will look back and laugh about yourself for having those fears in the first place.
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