This post is about things no “true nomad” or no “outgoing person” would ever understand. About the overcoming of overwhelming fear to travel. This is my personal story.
You may say that travel is fun – so many new places, new experiences and new friends. But not for me. I have a vivid imagination. My imagination generates images. And I am an introvert. That means I am sensitive to failure. So imagination grows these failures into images of unbearable monsters.
I will go to Thailand soon and will spend few months in Asia. I already know about scams, killed backpackers, poisonous snakes, thefts, malaria, ebola, unrest at the border with Cambodia (which I will be crossing). Of course, my mother adds to it too. She is so worried about me.
Yeah, there are some nice beaches. Maybe. I don’t know.
So, why will I do such a stupid thing – travel? I want to grow my self-confidence. I found that traveling helps to grow it a lot. Solo traveling especially. This whole blog is about learning from doing. I want to build my whole life about this.
I want to travel, but I am afraid. How am I overcoming this fear?
1. I am doing small steps. I have prepared for this trip in two years. First I traveled in my country. Then traveled for two days in a foreign city. Then I tried to get visa – and succeeded. Then I tried to buy a plane ticket – and succeeded. Then I traveled a week. Then two weeks. Then in mountains. Then in Japan. Then a month. I am expanding my comfort zone with small little steps. Before each step, I had this fear.
2. I concentrate on my way. Traveling, “being true nomad” is for others. I am not a traveler. My toy – Zayts, he is a traveler, not me. I am the one who is observing and learning. Learning and observing. And traveling is just a tool for learning. That’s what I’m doing – learning.
3. I read stories. I read about people who are traveling. But this does not help much because other people are different. And you shouldn’t believe people from the internet writing a blog. I am an introvert, I do not trust people who write too much about themselves. But anyway, there are some good tips and ideas on the internet.
4. I surround myself with travelers. I meet with traveling people (most of them cavers – an extreme kind of traveling) and listen to their stories about wars, stolen backpacks, drunk shepherds with rifles. These people are real, tangible and I trust them. I see that traveling is possible. Even in Laos jungle and Abkhazian caves.
5. I meditate. Meditation calms my mind. Fear is a product of a worried mind. When the mind is calm you see fear coming before it becomes overwhelming. Then you can accept it and let go.
6. I accept fear. Fear is a good thing. There are travelers who died or had troubles because they didn’t have fear. Fear keeps me cautious. I think it is good. I am searching for information and doing real preparation because of it.
This post was written two days before departure to Thailand. (Now you can read about my adventures there)
Also, this post was remade into a graphic story with a more general advice – not only about travel.
Fear is our inner teacher. Listen to it, but it’s not necessary to follow it.