When it comes to traveling there are many obstacles that can get in the way of you getting to your destination. Some of those hurdles are imagined, some are real. For me, traveling alone (or doing anything alone for that matter) has never been a problem. But based on feedback and the reactions of others, it clearly is for some.
Here are 10 tips to shatter fears and learn to travel solo:
1 • get over your fear of flying
The fear of flying is a common concern for many
wannabe travelers and rightfully so given the increased number of air disasters in recent years. I’ll admit, flying used to cause me a great amount of anxiety and panic attacks during turbulent times. My mother would question my faith and insist if I believed in God, I shouldn’t worry myself about the rest.
If you’re going to pray about it, don’t worry about it. If you’re going to worry about it, don’t pray about it.
I remember being on a flight one evening that was so turbulent I didn’t think we were going to survive. Not only was it insanely bumpy, but the fog was also thicker than a snicker! I couldn’t see the lights on the wings or outside the window. It was as if the shades were pulled down. The plane shook dramatically, swayed left and right, dipped up and down. And the flight attendants were seated. The turbulent pace kept up for the duration of the flight.
A woman next to me sensed my fear and decided to engage me in nonstop chatter. I found it rather annoying even though she meant well. I was too focused on my panic attack and trying to pray, breathe, and fly the plane; on top of talking to her, it was too much. She pulled out her Bible and recited verses. Prayed for us. Her distraction effort failed but I was grateful. I couldn’t hear her over the turbulence.
The plane landed hard! So hard we didn’t realize we were on the runway. Everyone except me bolted out loud screams. I could hardly breathe let alone scream. I couldn’t control the shaking that would have led you to believe I had Parkinson’s. Thank God we’d landed safely at Newark International Airport. Like many times before, I promised myself if I made it off that plane, I’d never get on another one. Needless to say, I lied. Allowing fear to have that kind of control over you is no way to live your life!
speaking of control…
I began to realize there was a method to my madness. The underlying cause of my fear revolved around lack of control and a mild case of undiagnosed claustrophobia. Given my firm belief in my faith and kismet, I began to free my mind which I swear is the most important thing you can do for yourself. And once I got a grip on my emotions, I started living in my truth.
What’s meant to be will be.
Now, if you can’t manage your thoughts, suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, or just can’t deal, there are natural remedies you can take to help you calm down. One that I love and swear by is Dr. Bach’s Rescue Remedy. It’s a natural plant-based remedy.
Dr. Bach discovered the Original Bach Flower Remedies which is a system of 38 Flower Remedies that corrects emotional imbalances where negative emotions are replaced with positive.
The Bach Flower Remedies work in conjunction with herbs, homeopathy and medications and are safe for everyone, including children, pregnant women, pets, elderly and even plants.
A flight attendant gave me a few drops on a bad flight from the Virgin Islands. She was an intuitive woman and zoomed in on the panic attack brewing inside of me. Normally, I would have declined such an offer but her calmness became my own. Within a short period of time (talking minutes here) my nerves calmed down and I relaxed for the remainder of the day. The Rescue Remedy is effective for any stressors and is highly recommended for instant relief. You’ll find it in the pharmacy section or any vitamin store.
2 • avoid the need for validation
Don’t let others negatively influence your decision. Some
most people will inevitably try to discourage you. They can’t help it. Even those with the best of intentions may attempt to influence your decision to travel. When you mention you’re thinking of traveling alone, they really look at you crazy. You can get ahead of naysayers by avoiding the need for validation and oversharing in the first place.
People will project their fears onto you if you let them. And there are a number of reasons for this. Some for good reason, some for no reason, and some have a genuine concern for your safety. None of the reasons should drive you to postpone or altogether cancel your next travel adventure.
If your circle of friends can’t support your plans, change your circles. If you’re waiting for someone to go with you, stop waiting and go at it alone. People will hold you up if you let them. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Shit happens. A lot!
So shatter the fear of validation and acceptance and take that trip you’ve dreamt. Now!
3 • don’t succumb to the “travel is too expensive” fear
Travel simply doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be. But it doesn’t have to be. Learn how to travel on a budget if necessary to get where you want to go. People are under the impression that I have unlimited money in the bank. Especially after I quit my job. Guess what? I don’t!
What’s expensive anyway? It’s such a relative term. How about we remove the concept entirely and think of FREE travel which we can all relate to. If you play your cards right, there are many ways you can pull this off. From racking up travel reward points to taking advantage of travel glitches, to winning travel contests, to an endless list of possibilities.
Assuming you have income, you too can save money for travel. Don’t believe me? Ask me how and check out how I stayed in a 5-star hotel in Paris, for FREE. And did it again in Greece!
4 • don’t worry about being “alone”
Being alone is a state of mind. We can be in the company of others and still be “alone”. When you’re on the road, you’ll be amazed how many other people are out there traveling the world, male and female, alone! And I’m not just talking about weekend trips. I’ve run into people who’ve been on the road for days, weeks, months, and years. Some people left home and never went back.
The point is, don’t worry about being alone. You’re never truly alone as new friends are out there waiting to meet you and if need be help you on your way. You’re only alone if you believe you are. And I’m not talking about imaginary friends in your head but if that helps you get moving so be it!
5 • step out of your comfort zone
Don’t worry about what people say. You’re dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t when it comes to the opinions of others. The best thing you can do is getting to know yourself intimately. Step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. Everyone will not understand what it is you’re doing and that’s okay. Some are going to think you’re crazy. Most will think you’re lost or running. Free your mind and don’t worry about the perception of others. Many of those same detractors are afraid to admit they share your desire but don’t have the confidence and determination to live their best life. You’re going to need to step out of your comfort zone in order to shatter your fears and travel solo.
This is a really inspirational post! Thank you so much for saying the things you did. I plan to teach abroad and my mother is currently trying her best to talk me out of it. While I respect her opinion it is clear that she is projecting her fear of the unknown onto me. Yes, it will be scary at first but I’m more than ready to face the challenge. It’s nice to read a post about that topic from a fellow black female who has traveled. You’re a real inspiration!
Hi Jess, thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m glad to inspire you. Listen to your instinct and go teach abroad. Your mom means well but she can’t help herself in wanting you to stay. If you don’t go, it’ll be one of your biggest regrets. You’ll be successful. And, if you don’t like it you can always go home. I share from experience. Wishing you all the blessings and peace on your journey. Let me know how it goes. Xoxo