fear of traveling alone

How to overcome the fear of traveling alone

I receive many emails every day from people asking me how I manage to travel alone for so long.

Typically in these emails you always get to a point where you tell me you would like to do the same but there are so many “ma”.
But we are afraid and the reasons are many.

I admit that I took the decision to leave for this adventure more or less lightly, well in advance but without thinking too much about the consequences.

I personally had never asked myself many of the questions you ask me and which I still consider understandable.
The only question that was pounding in my brain was: How much money do I need?
The only possible solution was to save money. No tricks or magic.
No sooner said than done. I worked hard, I saved money by not going out on weekends but by doing free things that London offered me and I stopped shopping and above all I stopped going to the PUB (and anyone who lives in Great Britain knows very well how much this expense affects the calculations at the end of the month).
I did things for free and got every penny. In 8 months I had saved £5000.

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fear of traveling alone

I actually didn’t have any other doubts or fears but I realize that such a step cannot be instinctive, it must be planned and you must be sure that it is the thing you really want to do.
But a radical change like giving up everything and leaving obviously causes a bit of fear, I would be crazy if I didn’t admit it.

Fear blocks us and does not leave us free to think clearly and rationally.

Fear is caused by not knowing what awaits us, the unknown terrifies us, paralyzes us and doesn’t make us do what we really want. We turn a fear into an excuse for not leaving and so we continue to dream of something without having the courage to dare and do it.
My yes says “I would like to do it but…”, “it’s my dream but…”, “you are strong, I would like to do it too but…”.

In relation to the emails I received, here is a series of fears that most people have and don’t know how to overcome them. I want to list the most frequent ones and give an answer to push you to take this step if this is really your dream.

How to overcome the fear of traveling alone and no longer find excuses not to leave

I don’t feel like traveling alone, what do I do if I don’t meet anyone?

This is the number one excuse/fear. I can assure you that it is impossible to stay alone and not make friends. If you speak a minimum of English things will be even easier. Forget about being able to speak Italian for a very long time. You won’t meet fellow practitioners very easily, there aren’t any Italians around but you will find and get to know people from all over the world. You will open yourself up to new cultures, new languages, new lifestyles.
But where do all these other travelers meet? A legitimate question but one with a simple answer: hostels.
Sleeping in a hostel is the best and simplest way to meet people, you sleep in the same room, you cook together and it will be easy to start a conversation. Also offer to share any expenses, they, like you, can’t wait for anything else. To quote a saying: two birds with one stone.
So no fear of being alone or not making friends. You will be alone only and exclusively when you decide.

How do I take a gap year? What impression will it make on my CV?

This is a fear that I must admit makes sense and is well-founded in Italy, while abroad such an experience is seen very differently. Italians, especially Italian employers, see travel and gap year as a waste of time. The truth is different in countries such as Great Britain, Germany and all of Northern Europe, without mentioning the USA and Australia. Here we evaluate this experience as a personal enrichment but above all it demonstrates our ability to adapt to new situations: socialization skills, understanding, patience. All characteristics that make a candidate for a job preferable to someone who has spent all their time studying but has no life experience to apply in the workplace.

In fact, offices abroad are becoming more and more open spacesthat is, we all work in the same room, employees must be able to share spaces, times and noises, we work in environments that stimulate communication and creativity.
A long-term trip is a positive point on our CV rather than a negative note. If you then worked or did something Volunteering these are all experiences to include in your CV.
Upon your return you will most likely speak 1 or 2 languages, if Italy doesn’t offer any opportunities why not consider moving where such an experience has value and take advantage of these possibilities?

How much money do I need?

I’ve been traveling for over a year and my average budget is $500 a month. Excludes USA, Australia and New Zealand. But for the rest of the world you can do it with this money.
I write this blog precisely to demonstrate that it is possible, I explain how, I advise where to go, how to move to spend less but not make this experience a nightmare or a life of deprivation. Goodbye private rooms (except in Asia where costs are so low that you can have your own private room for $4), from now on you sleep in hostels, eat street food, travel on buses. An authentic journey.
A notebook where you can write down your expenses or a free service like budgetyourtrip could help you keep track of how much you are spending.

I don’t think I can do it. I would really like to leave but I’m really afraid I won’t be able to do it alone

If this is your fear then you should work on yours self-esteem.
You will not be the first or the last to make such a choice. There are millions of people who travel long-term and everyone I have met has no doubt that it is the most rewarding experience of their life. A life experience that teaches and that somehow changes beyond the fact that you understand what it means to live in total freedom and independence. You can do it, once on the road the adrenaline will lead you not only to keep going but to never want to stop. Challenge yourself and overcome this fear that has no basis.

I have a boyfriend/girlfriend and I don’t feel like going away for a few months

I have met many people who have boyfriends at home. There were no arguments or breakups because of the trip. A couple should live with mutual respect and if this is an experience you want to have there is no harm in going away for a few months. With new technologies we can be in contact every day and in my opinion it gives value to the relationship. You know the distance is like the wind, the song says. If it breaks it’s not because of travel.

My family doesn’t want it

Do you know how many times I’ve heard myself say this? I lost my calculations. Yet the more I threw myself into adventures, the more I came back victorious with a lot more baggage and my boundaries expanded dramatically.
How did I tell him? I said it after the fact and considering that I support myself and make myself responsible for my choices, the only thing I could do was share my now adamant decision.
Your family, especially if they are not very young and have no travel experience, will find this idea of ​​yours crazy but simply because they don’t recognize it. It’s obvious they’re worried. Maybe my father still doesn’t understand the reason and continues calling me “crazy”, but he feels I’m happy and his worries end.

The world is dangerous

The world is dangerous if we don’t take the right precautions. I have talked about it several times in several posts, Central American dangers, and my conclusion is always the same.
If you are careful, there are countries that are more dangerous than others, nothing will happen. Even in countries like Guatemala or Nicaragua you can travel safely without fear. Let’s not let ourselves be blocked by places we don’t know or by hearsay. I have been there and I can assure you that in addition to being splendid they are not as “dangerous” as people think.
We always keep in mind that we are in foreign countries where the conventions and rules are not like ours, so for example we avoid getting drunk in Managua and walking home alone. So, one example among many.

I don’t speak English, can I do it?

This is something that might actually be a limitation. In a post, traveling alone without speaking English, I wrote that in my opinion traveling long-term and alone without speaking English is feasible but it makes things more complicated. I don’t deny it and continue to support it but since a decision like this isn’t made overnight, why not attend an evening English course and get back on track with the language?
There are no “I don’t have time” excuses. When I was living in London and planning to move to Berlin I took 9 months of German lessons twice a week. At the same time I worked in the office, from home as a freelancer, I took a theater course and an event organization course on the weekend. Studying German was a pleasure and I did it so as not to find myself in difficulty once I moved. I repeat: it’s all about wanting to do something.

At this point the only fear you should have is that of don’t want to come back again. What other fears do you have about undertaking a journey of this type? What’s stopping you from making this decision?

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