So, you are thinking about taking a big step into the world; you want to see new places, do something different, get out of the 9-5 routine for a while but very real fears are plaguing your mind. For reasons of choice or because there isn’t anyone who can go with you, not only are you contemplating travelling to a new place but you are going to do it on your own. From a person who has done it, I can tell you it is THE BEST THING I have ever done. It has changed the way I see life for the better.
Here are my thoughts and feelings before and after going away:
- Am I going to be alone the whole time? Not just because I struggle to talk to people without being anxious but because everyone will be travelling with their own friends! Won’t I just be at best, awkwardly tagging along?
2. What if I fail? What if I want to come home early because I can not cope with being alone? What if run out of money?
Below are some of the lessons I learnt in relation to my dilemmas above!
1.For me, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. There are so many other people travelling solo out there, they are just as eager to meet new people as you are and you will be surprised to learn that many started off being pretty nervous too. Groups of people tend to be just as friendly, after all most traveller’s signed up to the idea of meeting many new people as well as going to many new places. As they are all strangers to begin with, they don’t know who you are at home, your struggles or what has happened in your past and to be honest none of this really bothers them. What they do care about is whether you want to hire a speed boat out for the day and go island hopping with them, whether you want to go to a graffiti art class with them or you want to go and chase the sunset on your mopeds together. They care about making memories with you right now! And, even though these friendships may not last forever and the goodbyes can be sad, you will always share the amazing times you had together.
2. Okay, so this is where planning and preparation before going away are really important. Having a travel card and account are very helpful, not only does this enable you to withdraw money at much lower rates. It means that you can separate your money between your English and travel card account so that if anything happens you still have money to get home. Some travel accounts supply you with several cards which I found reassuring because if one was lost or stolen you would still have a back up card. Lonely planet guides don’t just contain tourist attractions, they also contain what to watch out for so you can stay safe, how much is the norm to pay for a taxi, food, accommodation etc and basic phrases to help you get by. In terms of the fear of failure, I told myself if I did come home early at least I had been brave enough to try. I would have seen somewhere new, done something different and learnt lessons along the way. At worst it will be a short holiday at best it can be life changing! Look out for more tips on how to have a successful trip in my future blog…
Anxiety can be quite crippling, personally it can leave me feeling isolated and unable to express myself without the fear of annoying, angering or upsetting those that matter to me. When you are somewhere different you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do, if someone doesn’t like it, they can go hang out with someone else! This trip pushed me into situations where I felt capable of building connections and understanding that just because they can come to an end doesn’t mean they are not worth making. There may be times where you feel lonely, out of your depths and exhausted but you will also be left in awe of other places, people, cultures and most importantly yourself and your own capabilities. If you are reading this and you are on the verge of taking the next big step, I really hope this helps you to make the best decision for you. Part 2 of how to conquer your fears through travelling solo will be coming soon and until then I wish you well!