Is traveling something you’ve always wanted to do, but never began? Do you know what’s stopping you from going on a journey? Here’s a list of 7 common worries that hold people back from getting on the road, plus one danger that comes with traveling, but is usually unforeseen. Check it out; it’ll hopefully make you understand there’s no actual reason to be afraid.
- I’ll miss home
You might miss home, it’s true. Homesick is a normal state, and it happens to most travelers sooner or later. You might go backpacking Thailand and end up in a hostel dorm crying and listening to your favorite Portuguese band, or Canadian, or Mexican, or wherever you’re from. Your parents can write you in an email about the barbecue party they’re organizing, and you’ll feel so bad about not being with them. This stuff happens, and it’s fine. Luckily, it usually doesn’t happen often. As soon as you hit the road, so many new sensations will keep you busy that there won’t be much time for getting sentimental and watching pictures of your lovely pets. New friends will come your way, and each one of them will bring something amazing to your life. Even if you feel down sometimes, there’ll be people to make you feel better. And then, once you get back home, you’ll appreciate it more than you used to. After weeks of backpacking and taking showers in random places, this comfortable bathroom of yours will be like a high-class luxury. You’ll forget the conflicts you had with friends and realize how trivial they were. Being away from home can make you love this home even more than you used to. And, once you get back, you might miss all the beautiful people you’ve met while traveling. That’s also fine, it’ll only mean the experience was worth the effort – and that’s what you should concentrate. Besides, if you don’t travel, you’ll miss the road, all the potential friends and adventures forever closed up in your imagination.
- I’ll be sad and lonesome
No, you won’t. Even as a solo traveler, you won’t be lonesome. Traveling means meeting new people. Locals, travelers, wanderers and dreamers, they’ll keep crossing your path. If you’re open, you’ll always have company. You don’t have to force it though; it’s good to be alone sometimes and alone doesn’t mean lonely. Instead of being afraid of solitude, make the best out of it. Walking around the city, taking a bike tour, spending a day on a gorgeous beach or visiting old monasteries all by yourself can be an amazing experience. Traveling solo gives you a chance to spend time with yourself and get to know you. You can find out there are things you wouldn’t imagine doing or feeling and traits in your character you had no idea they were there.
- I’m not independent enough
Perhaps you aren’t, but you’ll inevitably become. Instead of assuming you aren’t resourceful, courageous or smart enough, give yourself a chance to learn. The first travels can be messy sometimes, but so what? Even if you make several mistakes, it doesn’t mean something terrible will happen. If you miss a bus, you’ll have to find a solution – and you will. In case your bag gets lost, you’ll have to find a way to survive without it – and you will. You’ll learn how to deal with those little problems and dilemmas. There simply won’t be time to wonder which restaurant you should go to, so you’ll have to choose quickly. You might overpay for dinner once, but you won’t do it again. You can be shy at first and avoid conversations with other travelers in a backpacker hostel, but once you start speaking, you’ll see how easy it is. And, if something is too difficult, just look for help. Don’t you know how to find a cheap flight to Asia? Or what accommodation to choose in London? The Internet’s full of information. Read a bit, get prepared and stop underestimating yourself.
- I’ll get lost
For some people moving around new places is terrifying. If you’re one of them, don’t bother with it too much. Not all travelers have this incredible skill to find the right directions effortlessly. It’s something you practice and learn with time. With all the apps, maps and guides available nowadays, getting lost isn’t so much of a risk anymore. If you’re worried, you won’t find your hostel, the right bus station or those attractions you want to see so badly, just prepare yourself. Write down the directions or get an application that will allow you to check them constantly. Ask people on the streets and visit a tourist information office. It isn’t as hard as it seems. And, even if you get a bit lost, instead of panicking just stay calm and enjoy the surroundings. Who knows, perhaps you’ll see something surprising and wonderful!
- I don’t have enough money
And who has? People always complain they don’t have enough money, no matter how much they own. Be realistic, but not pessimistic. While some people have serious financial problems, many just create them. Your bank account is empty? Think of what you can do to save up some money. Work extra hours, don’t get another pair of shoes and skip a few parties. Set your priorities. If traveling is more important than, let’s say, buying a new car, just don’t purchase the vehicle. You can’t have everything, but you can have something – what it’s going to be, depends on you. Besides, traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to stay in luxurious resorts or fly to the end of the world. Do as much as you can afford. You may also look for a job abroad or volunteer in exchange for food and accommodation. Use hospitality exchange, hitch-hike and camp, it costs nothing, and if you travel this way, it can turn out to be cheaper than living in a city. Remember that staying at home isn’t entirely free either, there’s always something to pay for, be it a bill, a dinner, a shirt or a beer.
- Something bad is going to happen
Perhaps. Bad things tend to happen once in a while. The thing is: they happen everywhere. If you stay reasonable, the risk of something bad happening to you is just the same as it is at home. Walking around suspicious neighborhoods at night is equally dangerous in your hometown as it is in London, Bangkok or New York. Your wallet can get stolen while you wait for a bus to go to work, just as it can get stolen anywhere else. You don’t have to be overly optimistic and assume everything’s always going to be perfect. Life’s not like that, of course. Just don’t panic, stop assuming something terrible is on your way and acknowledge traveling isn’t more dangerous than staying in the same place forever. Several rules take care of yourself, avoid difficult areas, don’t agree upon something you don’t want, don’t spend time with people who make you feel anxious, be assertive and cautious – they’re universal and will come in handy whatever you do in life.
- My family will hate me, my boyfriend/girlfriend will dump friends and me will think I’m crazy
You can’t always worry about what other people think of you, that’s one of the simplest ways to waste time and energy. If you keep on doing this, you’ll lose many opportunities and miss out on beautiful things. Explain your loved ones how important it is for you to travel. Be gentle and do your best to make them understand. Don’t give up even if it’s hard. Perhaps they’ll surprise and support you eventually, but even if not, well, you just need to accept that not everyone has to agree with what you do.
Don’t bother too much with all of these fears. There’s only one thing you should worry about before you first hit the road.
- It’s addictive
Once you begin, it’ll be hard to stop. There’s a high risk of becoming a travel addict who’s constantly thinking of next places to do, a hopeless dreamer and rebellious wandered. Keep that in mind but travel anyway.