How to overcome your fears and travel alone.

I always recommend to my friends to travel solo at least once in their lifetime. Maybe you want to travel solo, but there are certain fears that are holding you back.  It’s perfectly normal to be afraid to travel alone, but don’t let these fears cripple you. Don’t let these fears, take away from you the chance to experience something divine and beautiful. What are these fears that hold us back and how can we overcome our fears and travel alone?

1.Fear of flying:

                                                       Photo credit: Jyoti Nayak

The fear of flying is one of the most common fears faced by many people. Many people assume that a flying phobia is all about the fear of crashing. However, the majority of fearful fliers aren’t concerned about a crash. They’re worried they’ll have a panic attack, experience a bout of claustrophobia on the plane, and lose control of themselves.

How to overcome the fear of flying? By facing your fears.  One could start with flying with a close companion/friend /relative to a close destination initially, to gauge the severity of the phobia.  Once, we realize that we can face our fears and that flying is not all that bad, we can attempt to take a solo trip flight to a close destination!  Arm yourself with knowledge as to why certain things like turbulence takes place in a plane. Turbulence occurs when a plane flies through an area of low pressure to high pressure, which will make you feel a “bump” in the ride. Turbulence is just like driving on a rocky road (only thing this time you are in mid –air 🙂 )

Another thing that makes us afraid of flying is the thought that what if the plane door swings open during flight?  Rest assured, it is very unlikely for such a thing to happen because once you reach 30,000 feet, there will be about 20,000 pounds of pressure holding the door shut!

Other aspects that could trigger a fear of flying is ear pain due to increased air pressure.  When a plane takes off, and when it descends for landing, the altitude changes rapidly. When a plane’s air pressure changes suddenly, it can create a vacuum in the middle ear, which can cause pain and discomfort. During the flight take off and while landing, chew gum, yawn, or swallow to help keep the middle ear tube open or try earplugs specially designed to minimize ear pain while flying.

During Take-off and while landing, take deep breaths and try to relax.

It would help to know that as per statistics: the odds of a plane crash are one for every 1.2 million flights, with odds of dying one in 11 million. Your chances of dying in a car or traffic accident are one in 5,000. Astoundingly, even if you are aboard one of the one in 1.2 million flights that crash, 95.7 percent of passengers survive . The fact of the matter is that flying is really, really safe. You have a higher chance of dying of food poisoning than in a plane crash, at 1 in 3 million.

So go for it and overcome your fear and see the world for yourself!

2. Fear of being mugged or attacked:

                                                                     Photo credit: www.shutterstock.com

The fear of being mugged or attacked in another country is a fear developed by listening to stories from others.  The person who suffers from this phobia, lives in a constant state of fear regardless if it is night time or daytime, which is not a healthy sign.

I have thankfully not been mugged during my travels, but am aware of people who have gone through this ordeal and the easiest way to deal with this situation is to protect yourself from being mugged/robbed and that is to blend yourself and walk with a group of people. Walk on well lit streets, avoid the dark, narrow alleys and make yourself aware of your surroundings and act like a local and not a tourist. In addition, don’t wear expensive watches, jewellery, sunglasses, shoes, or display electronics.

Try and carry minimum cash on your person, and to carry the rest of the money in the form of Travel Currency cards. These cards are useless to another and even if robbed, you can gladly handover the Travel currency card/credit card to him and later immediately block the card. Always keep another extra credit card in your hotel room safe, so that you have something to fall back on being robbed.

3. Fear of staying alone in the hotel room:

                                                                Photo credit: Yogita Mestry

The fear of staying alone in a hotel room is another fear that paralyses many people and stops them from travelling alone.  I am not at all scared to stay alone in a hotel room. However, these are the following things I do check before settling in:

  • Check that the room is safe. When entering the room, check the room thoroughly, the bathroom, cupboards, under the bed etc. make sure no one is hiding in there 🙂 . Then lock the door securely.
  • Do not read or watch ghost or horror movies before going to bed.
  • Before retiring to bed, keep the bathroom light on and I make sure to double lock the door.

Alternatively, you could stay in a youth hostel in a dormitory. However, one needs to be careful and take care of our belongings.

4. Fear of not doing adequate research before travelling:

We always like to be in control of things. Before travelling, we do our research and plan and travel accordingly.  Sometimes, however, we tend to go overboard with our planning. We do so much research on the country, the places of interest to visit, the type of food to eat etc. that we tend to miss out on the pure joys and spontaneity that travel brings.  The fear that creeps is that we have not done adequate research before travelling. This fear kills the very essence of spontaneity of solo travel.  One needs to understand that the plans that we make is only a guideline, a road-map to help us on our travels and is not an end in itself.

So it is okay if sometimes you are not in control of things which are beyond your control. It is okay if the train is delayed and you have lost your connecting train/flight. Go with the flow and enjoy the adventures of solo travel.

5. Fear of getting lost:

                                                                    Photo credit: Jyoti Nayak

For me, the very idea of getting lost in a different country is liberating! It is the sole aim of travelling alone, to wander aimlessly and lose yourself and in being lost, we actually find ourselves! Paradox of life!  This is about me, but there are many, who shy away from travelling alone, because of the fear of getting lost in the crowds.

To overcome this fear, always carry a local map of the place you are visiting, with the address and telephone number of the hotel you are staying in, with you at all times.

I myself have a terrible sense of direction and sometimes keep moving in circles on the same street  and eventually take the wrong turn and get lost, but that is the fun part 🙂

If any of you are suffering from any of the above fears and is holding you back from travelling alone or with your friends, I would suggest that you at least try to make an attempt to face your fears head-on and give it a shot to overcome your fears. There is a beautiful world out there, waiting to be explored. The world is all ours, if we only consider it ours and make it ours.  A song that comes to my mind while I write these lines are:

I see trees of green, red roses too. 
I see them bloom, for me and you. 

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

                                                                Photo credit: Yogita Mestry

 I see skies of blue, and clouds of white. 
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. 
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. 

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky. 
Are also on the faces, of people going by, 
I see friends shaking hands, saying, “How do you do?” 
They’re really saying, “I love you”. 

– Louis Armstrong

                                                                    Photo credit: www.pixabay.com

Here I would like to mention, that I am very thankful and grateful to God that I do not suffer from any of the above mentioned fears. It is truly a God given gift which allows me to travel and explore this beautiful world. Initially I did have face problems of adaptation and acclimatization,  but nothing that couldn’t be worked upon. I do not take any of these gifts for granted and therefore truly believe that I must make the most of it. 

Don’t let any fear steal from you the joy of travelling, the joy of exploring new places, the joy of discovering yourself and the joy of increasing your confidence! Face your fears and you will excel!

                                                                Photo credit: Yogita Mestry

Keep traveling and keep sharing your triumphant stories here!

Your TravelMate

5 Replies to “How to overcome your fears and travel alone.”

  1. Dipti Vyas Mahajan says: Reply

    superb article. loved it.

  2. Good Maria…

    1. Thank you 🙂

  3. asmitapatil says: Reply

    Amazing….very good and useful information. …..n u r pics awesome

    1. Thanks a lot!

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