Why You Should Go Travel Even If You're Scared
You'll never know what great adventures are out there waiting for you let fear hold you back.
Confession time: I'm a candy-ass. A full-blown catch-a-spider-under-a-cup-and-begin-packing-boxes-for-my-move, candy-ass. And while my biggest dream is to have wearing my security blanket over my head like a coat become socially acceptable (cinched with like, a Hermes belt, for style), I don't let my wimp-prone tendencies drive me.
Don't get me wrong, I acknowledge that they're there. Hell, we usually spend a whole afternoon together just drinking tea and talking about all the things that make us nervous. But while they're a great companion to chill with, wimpy tendencies are not friends you make plans with. I, personally, always have an excuse ready for whenever they try to entice me to sit at home, to do things like close the blinds and make new ruts in my life.
Which is exactly how I found myself out of my comfort zone and perfecting my sunburn in SaPa. I was sitting on a step of a rice terrace in Vietnam, playing with a blade of grass as I watched little kids try to jump on bison as their parents farmed. It's also how I ended up standing next to the big toe of Vishnu in India, deep in a cave that had so much history in it you could just feel the old prayers fall like dust around you. And it's how I'm sitting right now in an apartment in Warsaw, rounding towards Month Two of a one-way trip to Europe, alone.
I'm scared and hesitant and shy 90 percent of the time, but I'm not willing to let that hold me back. Because while I can be all those things, and am mentally wringing my hands and jiggling my foot, I still have a choice: Stay back where it's comfortable, or freak out and take an exciting leap forward towards something new.
Colin Wright said, “You have exactly one life in which to do everything you'll ever do. Act accordingly.” And my question to you, the person who wants to go somewhere but is scared: Are you really that dependent on your fears? Are you really going to let them be the most interesting thing about you?
If you know all of this is true but still just can't wrap your mind around the idea of standing somewhere so far away from home, think of it this way: What were your favorite memories back home? Chances are they're summer nights where bottles of wine are empty and you and your friends are sitting barefoot, with your feet propped up on patio chairs. Or long evenings crowding restaurant tables with tapas dishes and stories, your laugh tasting a lot like that convenient store champagne you brought along. It's road trips you took with summer coming in through the rolled down windows and dance parties you had while your roommate helped you fold laundry. That's what traveling is: You do all of that, just somewhere new. It's the comforts of memories, underneath cathedral arches and side street restaurants where the menus are in a language you're just beginning to get used to. It's not scary, it's beautiful.
So hang out with your fear, grab coffee, gossip about how scary everything is and how annoying the Unknown is whenever she comes around. But keep it for an afternoon. Then go home, put your hands over your eyes, and buy a ticket. It's as easy as that. You can start small and go somewhere a couple of hours away or you can do what I did and just cannonball into what could be waiting for you on the other side.
What's the worst that can happen? The best that can happen? You'll never know until you go.