How to START travelling WITHOUT FEAR

There are many reasons why people travel: they want to experience new things, they want to see new countries, perhaps they want to experience new cultures. All of these are definitely reasons you should travel.

There are also many reasons why people don’t want to travel: not enough time, not enough money, they just don’t want to do it, or they’re fearful or scared of what could happen.

Vietnamese road chaos
Traffic chaos in Vietnam

Fear is a big reason people don’t travel

A big reason why people don’t want to travel is because they’re scared. This is a normal and natural response, after all you’re leaving everything that is familiar and going to a place that is utterly alien to you.

New things often cause us anxiety and fear, think of your first day at a new job. Or even the job interview before that: It was new, you didn’t know what would happen, and that caused you some uncomfortable feelings. The same thing can happen with thoughts of travel.

Some bad things we tell ourselves about travel

Oh no! What if I get kidnapped?! What if I get bitten in the Amazon by some deadly bug?! Well maybe that’s a little drastic, but similar terror and fear producing thoughts might arise:

– What if I get lost?
– What if I need help and no one can help me?
– What if my wallet gets stolen?
– What if I don’t like the food?
– What if the plane crashes on the way?
– What if I don’t like it there?

These are all legitimate thoughts right? Sure! But do they relate specifically to travel, and can only happen when you’re travelling? No.

Some are legitimate travel focused ones, such as what if the plane crashes? Or what if I need help and no one can help me? But the rest can happen wherever you are.

Australia off road
The North Shore in Australia

The “dangers” of travel can happen at home

This is the first bit of good news, and the first step towards conquering your fear of travelling.

everything you’re worried about that can happen when you travel, can happen at home

This might sound weird, but think about it: how many times in the last three years has your wallet been stolen? I’m guessing either zero or once. It’s the same when you travel, if you’re careful you’ll be ok, if you’re stupid it’ll get stolen, it makes no difference where you are.

What if you get lost? Well you do what you’d do back home: you ask someone for help, or you get out Google Maps on your phone and see where to go. The only difference is that you’re in a different country asking for help, instead of your own.

Here’s something for you to think about: how much bad stuff happens to you when you’re in your own country? Probably not much right? Well, a similar amount of bad stuff will happen when you travel, not much, if any.

But surely criminals target tourists?

Yes, they do, and that’s why you’re smart. I’ve written a post about how to feel safe when travelling, so take a peek at that before you read on.

Sure being in a foreign country might make you more of a target, but if you’re smart (and you seem like a pretty smart person), then you’ll be ok. Just like you’re ok back home.

The thing about travelling is it isn’t another planet, it’s just a different country. We’re all human, we all have similar fears and hopes and dreams, and when you’re in another country you’re seeing people who are just going about their daily life, like you would back home.

Dan of the World wire mesh bag
Using a wire mesh bag to protect my valuables on a night train in Vietnam

The fear of the unknown is powerful but manageable

I’ve experienced this hundreds of times since I started travelling. The uncomfortableness of not being in complete control, or of not knowing exactly what’s happening, or understanding the rules or social norms yet.

However like with anything in life, it’s always the waiting or the thinking that makes us most uncomfortable. Usually everything works out fine. For example we hate the waiting before the interview, not the interview itself. We hate the thought of flying, not the flying itself.

if you tell yourself the odds are it’ll all be fine, like it is with life at home, travel will become so much easier

Even if you need to literally say it out aloud, tell yourself “it isn’t even going to be nearly as bad as I think, and the worst isn’t going to happen”. This will put you at ease, and guess what: it’s true!

Taoyuan City
A city veggie garden in Taoyuan, Taiwan

Take a leap of faith, trust yourself, and do it

Once you land, or get off the train or bus in your new destination, it will be different, expect that, but also expect that you’ll be fine like you are at home. Travel isn’t like swimming in the ocean with sharks (although that could be cool with a chainmail suit on), it’s more of an adventure that is begging you to start it.

you’ll be fine, trust me, I’ve been on the road two years and the worst thing that’s happened to me is losing my phone when I wasn’t careful.

Sure bad things can happen on holiday, but they usually don’t. Usually you end up having an amazing time, or a good time, and come home with a million stories to tell. Try it at least once, then you’ll know for sure.

Australia camping and bushfire
A bush fire keeps the night sky orange in Australia

You can learn many things about yourself when you travel. Things like where to find friends in another country, and two amazing ways travel will help you grow, and many more can be found on my self development page. Go and see how you can fix an issue in your life or better understand why you think the way you think.

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