I was scared shitless.
Armed with an oversized backpack, standing at the airport check in desk, I was wondering what I had just got myself into. On the other end of the flight I had a friend waiting to pick me up on arrival. She was just as excited as me about my first solo adventure as I was.
After passing the boarding gate this was it, no point of return, instead of being filled with fear of travel, I was ready for what the future had in store.
We all face those first doubts of fear, the worry inside that you have no idea what’s going to happen, but you just have to learn how to embrace it and conquer it.
It’s a moment that I will treasure for the rest of life, it was when I went screw it, let’s do it, what could possibly go wrong?
It was the turning point for me when I got over my fear to travel solo, to forget all those around me that asked why and to just go for it.
For many the first step into a world of travel is the hardest.
You’re surrounded by the fear of escaping your comfort zone for the first time and its a worrying endeavour.
Overcoming this fear, unlocks a whole world of opportunity.
But how do you overcome this first fear when you have no idea how to get started?
Start simple. Don’t make it complicated.
You’ve probably spent your whole life up to this point pondering around the possibility to travel, the best way to get started is to be excited.
Head to your local library, pull out a large selection of Travel guides and maps and explore the possibility, get your mind and spirit pumping for exploration.
Your first thought might be overwhelming, where do you start? What destination should you go to? Maybe even how am I going to visit all these places in one lifetime? Use this passion and enthusiasm to push you forward, use it as an inspirational mental power to see the world and you will go far.
Never before has the world been so easy to travel, sure you will see scary scenes on the news, this might put you off or those around you who might get worried, but cutting out this fear can help you to get onto that first flight.
Stop falling for an easy escape by saying “Travel is not for you, they are right to worry” Start dreaming of the adventure and say “yes”!
Don’t let anything get in your way to travel
People around you are only saying this because they care and worry about you, but they themselves might have never taken this first step themselves. You have to start thinking about what you want from your life and about for yourself, it’s your life and your decision.
Don’t be afraid to escape your comfort zone. Best to surround yourself with other travels who have already done it and ask for advice, these are the right people to surround yourself with. If you don’t know anyone you can always try helpful online travel forums to ask questions such as Gapyear.com
Start small, Travel Solo and meet locals.
My best advice to start travelling is to jump into the unknown, Forget what others are saying around you and just travel over a weekend to a close by destination.
If you’re based in Europe, fly over to another country for a weekend, find a Couchsurfer, travel alone and see what happens, you might be surprised. Jumping onto this flight will be scary, but that’s part of the adventure, to travel to the very unknown on your own and discover what’s possible.
If you don’t like it, you can easily fly home and say you’ve given it a go, if you fall in love with Travel, then keep on going, this is just the start!
Booking your first flight is key to overcome your fear of travel, this will give you a goal to aim towards and prepare you for first adventure.
It’s never about the destination that makes the trip, it’s always about the people you meet and the stories you share. Everyone around the world has a different culture and a story to tell, staying with someone from Couchsurfing will unlock other possibilities and surround you with people who want to help this goal be achieved, you might even make a friend for life.
Don’t over plan too much
No need to over complicate things, make it as easy as possible. On your first trip you will panic and over pack, you will book everything to feel safe and you will most probably over plan things. This is ok, when you first start to travel everything is new and prepare for the unexpected.
It’s ok to go with the flow and take away the fear of not having everything perfectly mapped out. Best to take a limited amount of items with you, if you need anything along the way you can buy it there. Plan as little as possible and ask locals for advice on things to do rather than booking everything in advance.
Start to adapt to a go with the flow travelling attitude and you will go far.
Isn’t travel for rich people? The problem we face in life is you either have the money but no time or you have time but no money. The chemistry of travel is explored on the cheap and try and be as frugal as possible to make it happen.
Money is always one of the biggest reasons that puts first time travellers off. Once you discover that Travel costs the same as what you are normally spending living your normal life back home, you will start to wonder why you’re not doing this full time.
Get over your fear and see the world!
Book a cheap flight in advance with a budget airline, Hitch Hike if you have to, Sleep at airports, eat local street food, stick to public transport or just walk and explore hidden gems of a city, get all your travel information for free online, stay with a local via a Couchsurfing and see where this journey will take you.
If you never give it a go you will always wonder why? Stop wondering why and just give it a try.
This first trip will test you on a personal level, but once you have come over this fear you will fill all the better and if travel is the life for you this will feed more weekend adventures.
For your first trip pick an off the path destination that is reachable by a budget airline, try to avoid popular city destinations such as Amsterdam, Rome, Paris, which are too comfortable to escape your comfort zone. Instead, pick a city off the beaten track which you have never heard of. This will test your boundaries better.
My first European cities that I discovered was: Hamburg, Cork, Porto, Graz, Riga, Tampere, Bratislava. These are great starting points, Full of students happy to host you on Couchsurfing, Affordable to reach with budget airlines and add an element of adventure as you have no idea what to expect.
This is a great starting point to make you think differently and fuel your adventure. Check out a budget airline route map and plot ideas where you can go on the cheap, never worry if you have never heard of the place just go with an interest of discovery and your do great.
Start small and easy and let this feed the desire in you to travel.
Learning about yourself and how to be independent will only help you to grow as a person and you feel a lot better for the experience.
There is a whole world out there to explore, its just up to you to choose this path towards a new lifestyle of travel.
Don’t be scared, look at how many other people are currently travelling right now? If they can do it, you can too, overcome your fear to travel and be better for the experience.
If this post has started to get your Travel bug racing and you’re looking for more information about how to travel on the cheap, feel free to check out my Ebook Travel Hacking, full of useful advice and personal stories, perfect for first time travellers seeking information on how to get started.
Thank you for reading my blog post and I wish you all the best towards your firs backpacking adventure, be sure to have fun!