4 Ways To Let Go of Travel Fears
This post is inspired by Alan Watts, a British philosopher who wrote about all the stuff that I and many others are interested in, whether we vocalize that or not; identity, the pursuit of happiness, emotions and personal growth.
Many of his talks, most available to listen to on YouTube, also reflect on Buddhism, so that's interesting too!
The road to our travels is one which has been about more than simply saving up the money to go; its been a process of preparing mentally for what will be a life-changing experience for both of us.
The quote below (taken from the YouTube video) gets across the best bit of advice in regards to living a life less guided by fear and worry:
... "I am worried, and I ought not to worry, but because I can't stop worrying, I'm worried that I worry.
...you discover that no amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that's going to happen. In other words, from the first standpoint, the worst is going to happen: we're all going to die.
And don't just put it off in the back of your mind and say 'I'll consider that later.' It's the most important thing to consider NOW, because it is the mercy of nature, because it's going to enable you to let go and not defend yourself all the time, waste all energies in self-defense".
Powerful stuff no?
Using that fear that resides in all of us, ultimately the fear of death, to empower us to do the things we want to do; to get excited, be adventurous, not using the fear as an excuse to never live.
Because no matter what, you will pass away one day.
And you wasted all those good years afraid of the inevitable instead of embracing what time you had.
So, when you choose a life that is less about sitting still and staying in your safe bubble, and more about leaving your town, country, continent, you are going to either confront many fears head-on or be more burdened by them than ever before.
Alan is saying, to worry about potential future events is to not only waste the present, and lose enjoyment in life, but is also a futile exercise.
What is yet to happen is partially under our control but it also, isn't. You have to accept that fact and realize no amount of worrying is going to change any outcome, except to ensure you are pretty damn miserable!
But it is understandable, that a person can be excited and enthusiastic about travelling, and shit-scared at the same time.
Fear of death of course, but also a fear of general things like discomfort and strangers (and strange beds).
Maybe you're scared sleeping in a dirty hostel in a country well-known for creepy-crawlies or travelling on a bus for hours on end; almost every aspect of travel can create a current of trepidation, with the eventual result being scared into in-action, not living out your wanderlust because the myriad of anxieties you have, have overpowered you.
Steps to take to ease your fears before embarking on your travels:
1. Researching before you go will protect you in the long-run:
- You can eliminate many possible bad situations by simply being informed and prepared for each destination you travel to.
- Make sure you know of any major issues regarding safety, or scams etc in that particular country or region by simply looking up the place on google. But don't let that information make you even more scared, feel empowered by having that knowledge.
- A basic thing to know would be related to health, making sure you understand what vaccinations to have prior to visiting somewhere.
- Look into what insurance you might need, and be well-versed in what the health-care system is and what it can offer you in each place you visit.
- Have a list of emergency contact details for all manner of things; a lost passport or stolen credit-card.
2. Focus on the things you can't wait to see and do:
- Dwelling on each and every thing that could go wrong is a sure way to lessen your enthusiasm.
- If you keep that mindset throughout your travels think of all the amazing experiences you will deny yourself because of 'what-if' thinking.
- Spending your time looking at all the wondrous and beautiful things you are going to be able to see and do, will create such a great surge of excitement, the kind which puts fear in its place: to the back of your mind.
3. Take comfort in the experiences and knowledge of your fellow travellers:
- You have a wealth of great info at your finger-tips and can learn all about the do's and don't of travelling to certain places, amongst different cultures, meaning you can truly go into nomadic life with your eyes wide open.
- Read travellers blog posts, use Pinterest and Twitter to locate tips and ideas on staying safe.
- Establish a few key things in your mind which you will actively do to feel safer and happier; mine include locking my bags up every time they are unattended when in hostels, being very observant of my situation on public transport in busy places, and just generally exuding an air of confidence and conviction, the kind that means you look less terrified and meek, and so you feel less terrified and meek.
4. Accept some bad stuff might just happen:
- You can't prevent everything bad ever happening, you haven't got ultimate control over all eventualities. You never have and you never will.
- You might lose a hoody, your passport, a sock or your kidney, who knows (last part less likely).
- You might face hardship on the road in other ways too such as with your money, with work, or with your partner.
- Life on the road is just like normal life back home, in that it too has the potential to go awry at a moments notice.
BUT you can take an organized approach to your travels and arm yourself with knowledge that will help you out, when you need to be safe or avoid bad situations.
Knowing what to do and how to do it will surely mean you have confidence in yourself no matter the scenario's you could find yourself in.
Go with instinct; don't hold back from trying new amazing things, embrace adventure and spontaneity; if something doesn't seem right, and you get a bad feeling, use your best logic and assess the situation calmly.
There are plenty of fears which might follow you on your journey,but as long as you use them to be safe and mindful, they won't hinder your adventures.
More Travel Preparedness Reading:
Thanks for reading!
Taran here, owner of Nomad'er How Far. I'm fond of psychedelic rock, photography & videography, anything to do with space and I'm also partial to the odd gaming session. Oh and I love to travel :P Get to know me here!