Having gotten somewhat used to the “what the hell for?” and the “are you insane?” comments when telling people about my upcoming adventures, every so often someone will catch me off guard and tell me how inspirational I am and how excited they are for me. Thank you. These comments help to ease any doubts or insecurities that may rear their ugly heads from time to time.
What surprises me the most however, is the number of people that tell me I’m brave and that they wished they had the courage to do what I do.
I don’t understand this. I don’t know what people are so afraid of. So below I have listed a couple of things that people have touched on and hopefully it may encourage some of you to take that leap of faith, and just DO IT. It’s not scary.
Don’t put your life on hold for the ‘what ifs’.
Of course you have to be careful and use your common sense. Don’t walk around at night alone, don’t accept a lift from someone you don’t know, don’t leave your drink unattended in a bar etc. Basically just take the same precautions as you would at home and be alert.
Information is power.. or so they say…DO YOUR RESEARCH. There are so many websites that you can check out regarding safety, and I list some here on my planning page.
If you’re a first time traveller or really worried about safety, think about doing an organised tour. They are great for meeting new people and you’re never alone (if you don’t want to be). One of the things I love most about organised tours is that you’ll often be taken somewhere you would have never considered going, and you’ll end up falling in love with the place. Some companies that I can recommend are:
For me, safety has never really been a big concern. I live in Australia which is a pretty safe country and yet you still hear stories of people getting shot, murdered, kidnapped etc. I pay about as much attention to these stories as I would about stories in Mexico or Brazil. Am I naive? Probably. But I’m a big believer that if something bad is going to happen, it will happen, and that you shouldn’t put your life on hold for the ‘what ifs’.
- Leaving it all behind
Do you stay for them or do you go for yourself?
Some of you may have more to leave behind than I do, or have had to in the past, and you have to consider each aspect of your life and decide, when all is said and done, can you leave it behind?
Whether it’s your job, your house or your family and friends that are holding you back, you have decide what’s more important to you. If the desire to travel means more to you than everything else.. I think you have your answer.
I have a wonderful, loving mother and father, two awesome sisters and some amazing friends. While I’m overseas I miss them everyday. To make it even harder I have 3 beautiful nieces who even now as I write this, bring tears to my eyes just thinking about not seeing them for a year. I’m afraid they’ll forget me or that we’ll lose our close bond with each other. But there came a time when I had to decide, do I stay here for them, or do I go for myself?
- Being lonely
You’ll get lonely, no doubt about it, but it will pass.
What I love so much about travelling is the incredible people who you meet along the way. Before every trip I worry about the same thing. What if I don’t meet anyone? What if no one likes me? and it usually takes about 30 seconds after arriving or meeting a new group that those thoughts are gone out the window. I’ve made lifelong friends throughout my travels.
Yes you will miss your family and friends. I think every traveller has that problem somewhere along the line. But it passes. You’re sad for a day or two and then you remember where you are and what an incredible opportunity this is, and you gradually forget about being sad.
- Not knowing where to go/getting lost
I think it’s all part of the adventure.
I’ve gotten lost and stranded many times but I’ve never come across a local who isn’t happy to help you, and I’ve always been able to find my way. Open your mouth, speak to people, ask questions. Even in countries where you don’t speak the language there’s always an option. Look at the signs, ask taxi or bus drivers. Ask enough people and you’ll eventually find someone who speaks your language. Or my strategy – just keep walking until you see something that looks familiar.
Don’t be put off by the thought that you may get lost. Who cares??? you’re travelling so chances are you’re not late for anything. Enjoy the adventure. And hey, you may even end up stumbling across something wonderful that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.
Is there anything I’m missing?
I’d love to hear what else worries you when thinking about travelling solo. Let me know by leaving a comment below.