In this day and age, travel is extremely common. Flights are cheaper than ever, there is a vast array of opportunities and an increasing number of people are stepping out the door on an adventure. Some go for a summer internship, others may be looking at something more long term like a gap-year before uni. Either way, more and more people travel.
But maybe you haven’t travelled yet. You might think it’s too expensive, or your personal circumstances make it too difficult. But in fact the thing stopping most people traveling is fear. Here are the 10 scariest things that stop people travelling.
1) It Might Be Dangerous
This is perhaps one of the scariest things you encounter when you first start researching a trip. If you look at message boards, review sites and various other places, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the scary stuff. Couldn’t there be sharks, or thieves, or civil unrest? Of course you may see a news report about war, terrorism or the general lack of safety in a particular area.
The truth is though, that travelling abroad is often no more dangerous than walking around the streets of your local town. As with many other aspects of travel, the trick is common sense and being prepared. Keep your eyes open and be alert. If something doesn’t feel right, walk away.
2) Solo Travelling
It’s common wisdom that when we do things alone, they’re scarier. So when you first think about travelling, you start to make a list of all of the people who might go with you. After all, not only will it be less scary, but it’ll be more fun – right?
Well, maybe. But solo travel is actually better in several ways. There’s nobody to argue with over what to do next, or where to go. You also have to make your own decisions and that leads to improved confidence and an ability to handle yourself in a variety of situations.
Also, you’ll often find that when you ask people to go with you, they rarely commit. People are often in a different place to you and may not be ready to travel. If you keep waiting for someone to travel with, you may never leave. This of course brings us on to the people you’ll talk to first…
3) Friends and family
This is a tough one. A lot of people get over their initial fears of travel and then get really excited about all of the possibilities ahead. Then they want to start telling everyone they care about. But what if some of them don’t approve? When this happens (and it’s quite common) remember that people may not be supportive because they care about you and worry about your safety.
Just be firm and assure them that this is something you want, and that you can take care of yourself. Which you totally can.
4) Moving Outside Your Comfort Zone
Assuming you’ve overcome the first 3 travel fears, the last scary thing before you travel is the thought that you might actually go. What if you do and then you miss home? What if it’s not what you expect? What if you fail?
It IS scary. But facing that fear head on and going anyway will change your life for the better in ways you can’t even imagine right now. And once you’re there, you won’t even remember being scared of leaving. You’ll be too busy having an amazing time.
5) Meeting People
Meeting new people can often be scary overseas. You’re in a foreign country with different culture and customs. It can be a daunting prospect.
But there are loads of ways to cope. It’s ok to keep in regular touch with your friends and family back home. And by travelling in groups, especially with an international internship, you automatically have new friends around you who are all in the same boat when you arrive.
6) Foreign Languages
A lot of people think that if they can’t speak a foreign language, they won’t be able to communicate with people on their travels. This is nonsense. Firstly, basic English is much more widely spoken than most people realise. It’s also easy now to learn some key phrases with either a book, your smartphone or just from research before you go.
Don’t forget though, that learning a foreign language is much easier when you’re surrounded by it every day. And any language skills you pick up will be invaluable to you in the future.
This is another culture-based one. Stories of weird insects, animal testicles, or various other odd foodstuffs can be extremely off-putting. In the vast majority of places though, this is an option and not a requirement. You can get western cuisine virtually everywhere and whilst it’s advisable to try the local produce, it’s also ok to get some home comforts once in a while.
8) Getting Ill or Injured
Having been through this one myself, I know just how scary it can be. When something happens at home, you know exactly where to go, who to talk to and what to do. Abroad it can often seem more complicated. The easiest way to combat this fear is to have comprehensive travel insurance. That way, no matter what happens, you’ll get the best possible care and be back to your adventure as soon as possible.
9) Your Unique Fears
No matter which of the things on this list you can identify with, there are bound to be other things that are unique to you. Some people are scared of certain bugs or animals. Others have a fear of heights. Maybe you have something that you’ve always been scared of whether you’re travelling or not.
Travel is the perfect way to not only confront these fears, but to get much better at dealing with them. The more you push yourself, the easier it gets.
10) Coming Home
Once you’ve been away, followed your dream and travelled abroad, it’s often scary to imagine returning home. What will you do when you get back? Won’t you be bored? What about your friends?
The thing is though, travel changes you for the better in a multitude of ways. If you decide to travel with an internship, you’ll also learn tons of valuable skills which can help you back home. Whether you want a new career, or just more travel, you’ll be more than ready.
So this really isn’t anything to be scared of. What are you waiting for? Go travelling!