Does Travel Conquer Fear?

Does travel conquer fear? What an interesting sentiment.

If you’ve followed me for a bit (or have talked to me), you’ll know that my blog’s goal is to be relatable, realistic….and funny. I think I have a solid handle on the funny part (okay, that’s debatable), so I’d like to focus more on being completely real and open. 

Fear can come in many forms:

  • Anxiety
  • Dread
  • Worry/Doubtful
  • Uneasiness/Nervousness
  • Agitation

Whether you’re outright terrified, as in hell to the N-O am I ever doing that!, or a mild uneasy feeling when you think you have a bug crawling on you (but it’s just your hair, phew, what a relief).

travel conquer fear

 

People have often asked me, “but aren’t you afraid?” And sometimes, I feel that’s a difficult question to answer. I’m afraid of many things. I’m afraid of falling. I’m definitely “hell to the N-O” afraid of spiders. Even a small one that’s far away. I’ll scream bloody murder if there’s one dangling in front of my face. I’m afraid of horror/gory movies. No joke, it’s to the point where I’ll cry, not be able to walk myself out to the car (if at night), and have nightmares Even if I watch it during broad daylight and watch cartoons afterwards. NO WAY.

I’m afraid of being kidnapped and left for dead in the middle of the woods. I’m afraid of my family dying before me at an early age. I’m afraid of what could possibly be around the corner in the dead of night (even if there’s nothing there..I’m scared). I’m mildly afraid of marriage, because what if it ends in heartbreak, misery, anger, spite…all of the above?

I’m VERY afraid of the unknown, my future, and not knowing what’s going to happen next. I can be spontaneous, but believe me, it’s a calculated level of spontaneity. But… what is living if I let these fears control me?

If you’ve read my about section, or know a little of what I’ve done in the past. I love a good adrenaline rush, and I went skydiving at the age of 18. “But you’re afraid of falling!? Makes no sense.” The particular adrenaline-inducing activities that I choose, in my mind, have that calculated level of spontaneity and risk to them. For instance, I went tandem skydiving. A.K.A I was strapped to some guy’s chest. Some guy who does this for a living. A professional with YEARS worth of knowledge. But if I let my fear control me, I never would’ve experience what I consider one of the best moments of my life. Why would I let my fear of falling keep me from living my life?

 

I believe the same thing goes for traveling. If you simply don’t enjoy traveling (something I may never understand..), that’s one completely unrelated aspect. BUT. If you don’t travel because of fear, think of all the beauty you’re preventing yourself from seeing, and the opportunities you’re holding yourself back from experiencing.

I’m not saying I’m better than anyone because I do have my own travel-related fears. (Note: fear of visiting a dangerous place, similar to a war zone is not what I’m going to discuss. Politics/war is a topic that I genuinely don’t feel qualified to discuss.) 

 

Does Travel Conquer fear

 

Let me be transparent for you: The idea of visiting a majority of African countries gives me a general feeling of uneasiness. Some countries scare me a little more than others. The Amazonian jungle is another destination that though I’d LOVE to experience, and I love reading about the interesting creatures….there are still many more creatures in the Amazon that downright scare me. Nonetheless, if an opportunity presents itself to volunteer in an African country, or to go with a group to tour the Amazon and cities nearby, you better believe I’m going make a hard effort to put my big girl panties on, and research these destinations. The bugs and creatures in Australia that I’ve seen in videos floating around Facebook downright give me the heebie jeebies, and I’m 100% positive I’d cry if I saw a spider the size of a cat. Is that going to stop me from wanting (and eventually going) to visit Australia and see that beautiful country? NO. Though I wouldn’t want to meet a cat-sized spider face to face, the general idea makes my nerdy self think, “How COOL is it that we live on a planet with so many diverse and interesting creatures?”

 

I have an absolute fear of going to new places by myself. I’m easily lost, and when I’m lost, I get frustrated and I panic. I don’t do well under pressure and I’m the WORST problem-solver in a situation like that. Nevertheless, I absolutely adore the idea of solo-travel, and it’s a MUST on my list. I think there is so much I can learn by visiting a place by myself. I may not be ready for it at the age of 23, and I may not do my first “solo-travel” experience outside of the country, but I’ll be damned if I let this fear keep me from such an awesome experience. I believe the more you get comfortable with something that pushes the boundary of your fears, the less scary a situation will be.

 

Does travel conquer fear? In a sense, I suppose it does. What I believe truly defeats our fears…. Knowledge. Travel does have its hand in the process, as traveling provides us opportunities to conquer our fears and enhance our problem solving skills.

 

How do you choose to conquer your fears? Does traveling help you in any way?

 

 

18 Comments

  1. Love this Miranda! I’ve found that travel has really helped me to conquer some fears and after I’ve felt so proud of myself and accomplished. Even something as silly as taking public transportation in a foreign country on my own made me feel good about myself! Just had to go for it with white water rafting (because trust me, I was scared)…especially when I’m telling my kids everything will be fine! Push yourself a little bit outside your comfort zone and I’ve personally found it so rewarding!

  2. Fantastic writing post. I believe anyone who travels a lot over comes fear, anxiety, nervousness etc. I was like this when I was a lot younger, but over time and doing a lot of travel, I overcame my fears. Not sure how. But I have. And now I am a totally different person.

  3. Yes! So many times in my life have I been afraid and I have never let it stop me from traveling. In fact, once I arrived and start doing things my fears generally start to disappear. It’s always that first step to just go that is the hardest. Thank you for a great post!

  4. Nice post and interesting topic, I think Travel has taught me to fear less and trust people more and I can now do some activities that I just wouldn’t consider before but like you I am not going into the Amazon or where there are spiders

  5. i felt like i understood you. I have fears and ‘what if’s all the time, but I try to be a grown up and overcome those fears even if I am terrified. Just like you some countries scare me more than others and I don’t have guts to travel solo in them.

  6. I’m a Happiness Coach and full time traveller who perversely was paralysed by fear when hubby said, ‘let’s go travelling’. I’d spent years talking to others about how their fears held them back and then it hit me! My fears were holding me back. Fear is just a thought – and an irrational one at that and whilst travelling has certainly given me a confidence in so many things, my fear has been conquered by ME. And that’s what I guide others in my coaching to explore. THEY can deal with their fears. Travel will definitely increase our courage, positivity, confidence and capability which all help to dismantle our fears. Such an interesting topic. Thank you. Kx

  7. Alicia

    Traveling with groups is fun but has it’s own stressors. Solo travel isn’t something I’d do a lot but I’ve gone on a couple trips alone. In some ways it’s less stressful because if you get off schedule there is no pressure. You can change your mind about what you want to do and you will meet people along the way. Just start with an easy first solo trip.

  8. It’s interesting because I think age plays a huge part, just experiencing life! When I was 18 to 24, fear was not in my vocabulary. My family moved a lot, so I became very social, very fast. I was raised be respectful and compassionate to all living things AND I could achieve any goals that I set my mind to, BUT as you get out in the world, You SEE and Experience the bad and ugly and become cautious, its not a bad thing and I really don’t FEAR adventure, just cautious, more aware of the people around me. So, On To The Parts Unkown! Thanks for the post, great subject!

    1. That’s really interesting that you mention age, because I am 23 years old! I was terrified of everything as a small child, and have been pretty introverted my entire life. I’m definitely MUCH less fearful now than when I was younger… so I guess it’ll only get better from here. Loved your input! So interesting to learn how different everyone is, and how they handle fear <3

  9. Such an interesting topic, one which I have thought about a lot over my travel years. My experience is similar to Kovas (comment above). I feel like the more times I push through fears in travels (and in life), the easier it becomes “to stop avoiding fearful options,” as he said. And the result is so empowering!

  10. Hi Miranda,

    I’ve found travel hasn’t necessarilly ridden me of my anxieties, but have at least enabled me to overcome certain elements – like flying. Living abroad is a great way to remedy issues even more than travel. It’s great for the confidence and can really make you assertive in ways you may not have been able to previously.

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