It was my very first trip and I was scared. Travel is scary. What had I gotten myself into? At first, I told not a soul, I didn’t want anyone to instill doubt in me. I already had enough of that. I wanted it to be my big secret. After all, I had basically signed up for a year of just me, all alone somewhere in this world that I had no clue of. Foreign lands, strange cultures, unknown paths.
Troubled, So What?
It didn’t help that I am an introvert. That I used to be extremely shy. Or anxious over a lot of things. That my confidence was in the red numbers. That I was devouring facebook feeds of lives that looked well put together where mine was only an assemblage of shards and shattered pieces.
I had never flown more than 2 hours before.
I had never been to a country where I couldn’t rely on speaking either English or German.
I had never travelled without a fully mapped out time schedule.
I had never been so far away from friends and family.
Travel is scary.
Needless to say, it was daunting but I did not allow myself to dwell on it. Instead, I did what I usually do, I made myself busy, distracted myself with procrastination, with chitchat, with TV series and with piled up work.
That was until I had to announce me intentions and the comments came flooding in. But that fired me up even more, I could divert my energies to defending my idea, to painting a pretty picture of how exciting and enriching this was going to be.
When You Finally Have to Face It
And then the day came. I felt utterly unprepared and discouraging scenes went wild in my mind. What if the plane crashed? What if I got robbed? What if I never found my hostel? What if I spent all my money and would come crawling back in shame? What if … what if.. what if..
When the plane started humming and the engine noise drowned my thoughts, I started to calm down. It was too late and there was no way back.
At that moment, my life lay in the hands of the pilots. There wasn’t much I could do. And afterwards, there was no one to rely on. No one but myself.
So far, I had been pretty successful at keeping me alive, keeping me fed and clothes. I had relied on others, too but that was no longer an option. It was scary but it was also liberating.
Gone were the voices that meant well but had dictated so much, gone were the worries that I couldn’t make it because I had made it here. Anything moving on from here was new, was something I would actively achieve, something unpredictable. That made it hard to fail.
Why Travel Might be the Cure
Being on an adventure does not negate failure. You will make mistakes, but those make for awesome stories. How about the time nobody could understand you and you tried to communicate with your hands and feet, making an utter fool of yourself? Now you can laugh and now you have people you befriended that day.
How about that time you despised yourself for taking the long road and hiking in the ditches just to catch a sunset that was hidden by clouds? Your friend taking the car the next day had pretty pictures but can hardly remember it anymore, it did not have a lasting memory. You, on the other hand, still remember that look of the chewing cows as you dragged yourself through the dirt.
Every day on the road in unfamiliar territory, you challenge yourself. You have to. You want to. And you can do it at your own terms. Travel is scary, but only if you you allow it to be.
I did it all the time. In fact there were so many crazy things I’ve done, that I never expected. So I created a challenge. Before the new year starts, I want to tackle my inner demons head on and therefore will run a #30daysofdemons challenge.
Each day, I will address one of my (and maybe your) inner demons on instagram and find a way to beat it. Little things count and maybe by the end of the year, we don’t need all these big resolutions we never keep because in the end, we already started being more like we actually are underneath all the worries than the person people worry we should become.
This Is How the Challenge Goes:
Use the Hashtag #30daysofdemons (instagram, twitter, facebook) to tell me about a struggle of yours and I might include it in one of my daily demon bashing as well. Together we can beat this! It doesn’t have to be about travel being scary, it could be little things that are challenging in your life.