Facing My Fears of Long-Term Travel

facing_my_fears

According to Dictionary.com, fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid”. It is an emotion that I’m sure we have all experienced at various points in our lives.

And it is something that I will have to deal with when I finally make my decision to embark on my career break.

It has always been a dream of mine to see other countries and traipse about the stunning cities and villages of the world. And to do so at my own pace; with no time constraint, no set itinerary, no work emails to get back to.

As adventurous and exciting as that sounds, the realities of the situation are, at times, not so. A lot of “what-if” scenarios tend float about in this head of mine; scenarios that scare me more than it should.

But What If…?

What if I lose all my money or belongings?
What if someone harasses me?
What if I end up in jail for a crime I did not commit?
What if I get lonely?
What if I miss out on making memories with my family and friends?
What if I end up hating everything and everyone?
What if I become jaded with travelling?
What if I accidentally insult an entire culture or religion along the way?
What if I fail at this and lose everything?
What if…..

Well, you get the picture.

Now, these are just some of the scenarios from the top of my head. I am pretty sure that when my decision to leave is finally made, the list would grow inexplicably longer. And the panic attacks will begin.

Change Is Not Easy

“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
~ J.K. Rowling

I guess once you have led a very comfortable life (as I have), you tend to worry about anything and everything that might bring about change. Even something as insignificant as “what if I can’t get my shampoo?” may derail my plans (remember those panic attacks I mentioned? Yeah, those!).

Change is exciting and necessary for us to grow, for us to learn, for us to wonder and for us to believe. So, why should it scare me? Why should I let all those possible “what-ifs” scare me into thinking this is something I cannot do.

Maybe it’s time I realise that I need to grow the hell up.

Time To Embrace The Changes

Life is not easy. No matter what decision we make, there will always be change in our lives. And with every change, there is a certain amount of fear and trepidation. That is only natural. But to continue to live behind those fears and to never embrace change is what I believe to be the biggest fear of them all.

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
~ Rosa Parks

I am confident that I can make that decision to quit my job and travel someday. I still hold on to that hope that I will be able to face all my fears and venture out into the unknown. Thankfully, I have a very supportive family and some great friends who believe in me; at times more than I believe in myself.

I have to continuously remind myself that there have been thousands of amazing people out there who have done the very same thing I hope to do. Have they struggled? Yes. Have they changed? Yes. Have they felt lonely and lost? Yes, most probably. Have they regretted the decision to travel long-term? No.

If anything, they have grown to become better versions of themselves. And they’ve discovered in them abilities and skills that they never knew existed prior to leaving. Perspectives have changed, lessons learned and faith in themselves restored. Some have even discovered new careers. While some have returned to their previous careers with spirits renewed.

It’s all about how they’ve chosen to embrace their new lives and to face their fears. I hope I will be able to say the same for myself someday.

What if I tried and ended up having the time of my life?

8 Comment

  1. Beautifully written, as always, Kavitha! :) I’ve always wondered about long time travel, but my fears are mostly about leaving the loved ones behind and the lack of money (since I like comfort and hostels sort of terrify me). But I would love to do it one day, even for as little as one or months.

    1. Thanks, Vlad :)

      And yes, leaving loved ones behind is very tough for me too. But, I know that someday I will need to break free of that fear and go for it. Thankfully, we live in an age where technology plays such a vital role in communication. So, that can help a little when we miss them and need to connect.

      As for comfort and hostels, you’d be surprised how some hostels are sprucing up and looking nice and clean. Also, Airbnb has been one of my favourite ways to travel too. You get some privacy and a nice bed!

  2. I can totally understand how you feel Kavitha. The fear of being out of the safety nets and the too many what ifs.

    Your family and friends are your best support system! You are lucky to have them. Perhaps you should give yourself some time to prepare yourself mentally and physically. When you feel ready, just go for it because YOLO! :D

    Good luck and see you at the end of the month @ AWE.. when I can finally meet you in person to say hello! :D

    1. Thanks, Pam. And yes, I am mentally preparing myself as we speak. Haha. Thanks for the encouragement too. Oh, can’t wait to finally see you at AWE too. We are SO going for food! ;)

  3. When you experience surroundings like in the picture above, you always kick yourself for being so afraid in the beginning. Once you step forward and put yourself out there, it’s amazing how well you handle yourself on the road!

    1. Well said, Katie. I believe that to be true too. Thank you so much for your encouraging words and for stopping by :)

  4. Awesome words, and i can put my signature under each of them. However, the whole problem for everyone is those “what if?”s… they’ve ruined couple of perfect moments in my life already, and when i am starting thinking of leaving the job and start traveling i just ignore those “what if”s and think the good things that are waiting for me. There are always more then one solution to any problem, so in any case it will happen the way it needs to happen – for all the best :)

    1. I can’t agree with you more, Olga. And thank you so much for your kind words. They do indeed give me hope.

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