Overcoming Fears of Travel, Part 1

Travel is one of the first things people think of when they think of adventures. There’s plenty of excitement to befriending traveling, but many people never do out of fear. Here’s some of the fears I had about traveling, and how I overcame them.

But I’d don’t speak the language…

It’s true, like many other people who live in the United States, English is the only language I speak fluently. I’ve got a few years of high school French and a semester of college Spanish, both of which ironically came after I had visited France and Spain respectively. So what did I do when I needed to communicate with people in those countries? Well, I learned a few words and became willing to sound stupid if I could get my point across. If you can pick up, “Please,” “Thank you”, and “Which way is…”, you’re set for most situations. Pointing, maps, and a little acting can make up the rest. You’d be amazed at how much of what we say is situational- a shopkeeper knows you want to check out when you line up at the register, waiters know you need to order food, and the front desk person at the hostel knows you want a room!

It’s too expensive.

Look, there’s no getting around it. Travel costs money. If you want to do a lot of travel, invest in a solid emergency responder course and/or a course on how to teach English. Lots of places around the world will pay your bills for those skills. If you’re looking for shorter-term solutions, there’s plenty of ways to travel cheap. Hostels, house swaps, camping, group rates, volunteering your way into an event, traveling by slower means such as by bike or bus. Cook your own food instead of eating out, or hit up a free gallery opening instead of an expensive ballet show. Once you start looking for ways to travel cheap, there’s no end!

I’ll be all alone.

Traveling alone can be intimidating. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, though. I spent 30 minutes crying in a train station because it was getting late and I couldn’t find a train to where i wanted to go, I arrived at midnight with no reservations, I got sick, I missed an international flight…and I dealt with it all. Traveling taught me my strength. And it also taught me to talk to strangers- I made friends with some tourists from Quebec in Morocco and an international group of college students in Barcelona. If I was alone, it was on me because there were plenty of people to meet and talk to.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week! Share your own travel adventures in the comments.

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About Melissa ra Karit

I'm a queer, poly, genderqueer Witch. I'm a sex-positive feminist, an activist, and a writer. I believe that when we attend to our individual good, we approach the world with good in our hearts and change the world for the better. Opinions expressed here are solely my personal opinions, and do not represent the views of any organization with which I am affiliated.
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