I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous.
Tomorrow I leave Australia, the country where I’ve spent the last 27 years of my life, to live on the other side of the globe.
On the way, I’ll be visiting an entire continent I’ve never set foot on before.
I’ve had to be immunised for seemingly every disease on the planet. From all the warnings I’ve been given by doctors and fellow travellers, I half expect to step off the plane and immediately contract hepatitis, malaria, and food poisoning.
I’ll be entering countries where my local language skills are limited to saying ‘hola’ and ‘si senor’, which seem pretty darn useless in the grand scheme of things.
I’ll be attempting to hike the Inca Trail, a 4-day trek, and to be honest it’s freaking me out. I’ve barely trekked for more than a few hours before, and can confidently say that camping is far from my favourite type of accommodation.
And on top of all that, I’m not the most confident flyer (lets just say turbulence and I do not get along), yet I’ll be taking 9 flights with a total flying time of about 38 hours.
So why the flip am I doing all this if I’m so afraid? I keep asking myself, am I insane?
It’s simple, really. Sometimes, fear is the one thing that drives us to get more out of our lives.
It’s ok to be nervous, scared, or fear the unknown. We don’t have to suppress it, or feel as though we should be fearless. Fear is totally ok.
What is not ok, is letting that fear stop you travelling.
I was nervous before I went backpacking through Europe too. I’d never stayed in a dorm room before and had no idea whether hostels would be dirty or crowded or full of seedy people.
The longest I’d ever been away from home was 5 weeks, so leaving for 3 months felt pretty damn scary.
I went over in the middle of winter, completely unaware of how I would survive the snowy weather and freezing temperatures.
And I’d be stepping foot in countries that have somewhat of a ‘questionable reputation’ such as Russia, Ukraine, and Slovakia.
But even with all these fears, I intentionally put myself in a situation way out of my comfort zone, and I’m so glad I did, because I came out the other end a more confident and enlightened person.
Hosier Lane, Melbourne
Many travellers appear to be fearless. They volunteer in third-world countries, trek the worlds tallest mountains, skydive and bungee, and do all sorts of things that you’d never dream of doing.
But I’ll tell you a secret – they’re just as afraid as everyone else.
Everyone is afraid of the unknown. People who seem fearless are not in fact fearless at all – but what they’ve learnt to do is not let it get in the way of a possible life experience.
Yes, things will go wrong on your travels. I can count many travel days where I’ve had a shit time, but I can count a helluva lot more that were awesome, amazing, incredible, or just plain nice.
It’s ok to be afraid, because travel is scary. All you need to do is be brave, and realise that if travel wasn’t scary, then it wouldn’t be nearly as exciting.