Traveling is my passion and I can think of nothing more liberating and exciting than hitting the open road. Nothing is fixed and nothing is planned, and everything is in the hands of fate. And so, I guess it is the unknown that really turns me on.
At the same time, it is the unknown that never fails to provoke intense pre travel anxiety within me. Despite all the craziness I have survived and countries I have visited, I worry whether I will be able to handle it again. And if I will have the confidence to cope with the myriad events that the road will throw my way.
As I begin to contemplate my next big trip, my old friend anxiety is never far from my thoughts. As in the past, he is still skilled in inflicting chest pains and pangs of diarrhea.
Though the anxiety and adrenaline is uncomfortable, part of me actually secretly enjoys it. No, I don’t mean the diarrhea. I’m talking about the alertness and will to survive type feeling that it invokes.
There are two ways I usually handle the fear. The first way is by purging the fears from mind by distracting myself from it. However, in my experience, the fear never fails to return and this is nothing but a quick fix.
The real way to over come your fear and anxiety is to confront it head on. You really have to isolate exactly what it is that you are worried about. Almost always, your fear will be unjustified. So once you know what it is, you need to logically dissuade yourself from it. However, since many of our fears have become so ingrained and life defining, it’s easier to said than done.
For me, my fear is largely the fear of fear. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s mostly true. I am worried that I won’t be able to control my fear. That it will take hold and I will spiral downward into ever increasing discontent.
But perhaps you are afraid of something a little more tangible like death. If you are afraid of death, than you should know that you are in good company. Everyone is afraid of dying to some degree.
And when you are traveling, there exists an endless amount of ways for you to die. You could be blown up in a terrorist attack, puke your guts out from food poisoning, or be scattered to pieces in a train or plane wreck. However, as I am sure statistics will illustrate, there is probably little more chance of you dying on your travels than dying in some terrible accident at home.
Perhaps I am wrong, but in any case, you are meant be scared before your travels. This fear is healthy. Only through it are you able to challenge your fear and hopefully overcome it.
Although traveling is risky and frightening, so is anything worthwhile in life. In fact, if you think about it, almost everything that is fun contains some level of risk. Don’t let your fear dissuade you from experiencing an enlightening and amazingly fun travel adventure.
So quit making lame excuses that originate from baseless fears. Put your fear to the test and go travel. When all is said and done, and you have partied with legends, surfed trains in India and eaten bugs in Thailand, there will be little left for you to fear.
Good luck and safe travels.