As I cross off each passing day on my agenda, I can feel the anxiety settling in more and more. Come July, I’ll be traveling by myself to another country. Not going to lie: I’m pretty freaking nervous. The fact that everything is so open-ended is definitely anxiety-provoking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still super pumped to be going to Greece for my first stop. This trip is important to me and I know I am going to have an amazing time wherever it takes me. Still, the travel trepidation persists.
In this post, I’d like to elaborate on my worst fears while traveling alone.
Between hotels, hostels, AirBnBs, and living among the locals, the housing aspect of my trip stresses me out. It is a necessary evil – and one I hope to learn to love – but the stress from it is there, for now, no doubt. One time, while traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada, my AirBnB host canceled my reservation a few hours before my flight. Until that night, I didn’t even know that was allowed! So there I was, in the middle of the night, soon to arrive homeless in Nevada. If that happened to me in another country, I’d be so flustered. The scary part is that with my luck, it probably will.
Everywhere I’ve ever traveled (China, Spain, Aruba, Saint Martin, etc.) I have always gone with someone else. Those trips were either family vacations, group tours, or at the very least, with one other person. Never before have I left the country to go someplace all on my own. I’ve always enjoyed being with people while traveling. I think it makes a lot of aspects of traveling more fun. How will I feel being by myself in these unfamiliar places? Will I even like it? Maybe some solitude will do me good.
I don’t necessarily know what to expect from a solo trip. I can see myself learning a lot from it. I’m sure I’ll meet people and hopefully maybe even make some friends while on the road. That would be cool.
The irony with my plans is that I suck with directions. God help me as a traveler.
Surprisingly, fear of language barriers falls a lot lower on my list of worries. Why isn’t it more of a concern? Well, after going to Spain and China, I’ve noticed you can get by in many places with basic English knowledge. That probably won’t always be the case in some of the places I want to visit, which is a bit scary to think about, but it still brings me some comfort. Plus, I have technology that can do translations and the ability to perform charades, if need be. Not to mention, VIPKID has taught me top-of-the-line TPR!!!
I’ve put together a travel budget that includes my total income and what percentage I should hold, spend, save. I’m doing my best to protect myself from financial discord. My goal is not to add any debt during my travels. When I view things through a purely financial lens, I become anxious and feel tempted to cancel the trip altogether. It was for very specific reasons that I decided I must push forward and make this happen now.
Believe it or not, I don’t like flying all that much. I can do it but I have an uneasy feeling about it. Interestingly enough, I was mostly fine with flying my whole life and things only went downhill for me after this scenario… Why do I do these things to myself? I really prefer to fly with someone else and I’m a bit anxious to be doing so much air travel all on my own.
Risk & Failure
If I really wanted to, I could make a long list of things of all the little things that can go wrong. Sickness, theft, physical harm, the list goes on and on. While I think it is important to be mindful of these things (purchase travel insurance!!!!) I don’t think it should stop you from doing something you want to do. My family is worried about me going on my own but I am a big advocate of living your life to the fullest and I don’t think you can do that while living in fear.
Overcoming Your Fears
They say the best way to face your fears is to stare them in the face. I am tackling mine head-on by doing just that. If I think too much into it, I’ll give myself a panic attack before I even leave the USA. Breathe, Rocky, breathe. Everything will be fine. Take things one day at a time.
Some days, I know it will be really hard. Uncomfortable. Stressful. Scary. Confusing. Frustrating. All of that is okay! It is to be expected!!! I’ll have to roll with the punches life throws at me.
Please be sure to share this with anyone you know who might also be feeling nervous about traveling solo!
I’ve been doing mostly solo travel since my husband passed away a little over two years ago. My first trip I was a nervous mess in the beginning, but learned to relax and just go with the flow. Now I love traveling solo more than with others; you’ll learn to really figure things out on your own and feel really good about that. Just go have fun!
Thanks for the extra confidence. I think the nervousness is something everyone deals with to a degree, mostly in the beginning. I hope I can have a positive experience out there on my own. Thanks for your insight, Angeline! ? Appreciate your positivity!!!!
I see this as an adventure, Rocky. You can decide exactly what you want to do and what you don’t–no need to be polite and see what someone else wants to do. You may say you are nervous, but your posts show a method to your madness. You are going down the line getting everything in order. I know you will be just fine. Everyone gets the jitters from something new. I am so excited to read posts from ‘Rocky, World Traveller!’ Go out there an kill it!
You’re spot on! No strict expectations or requirements. A pure adventure in every sense of the world. Hahaha thanks so much for your support! Can’t wait for the summer!
I think you are embarking on an amazing journey and doing so with incredible courage. As a self professed introvert, traveling alone is even more of a challenge, but you are taking the leap. My feeling is that your excitement about all you see and learn will take over from your fears, and in the meantime, you are thinking about, facing and dealing with the fears. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures!
Thank you so much! Yeah, this is probably atypical for an introvert. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them I am one. What can I say? I’m an outgoing introvert! I enjoy meeting new people, exploring, and as long as I have me time, I should be ok! ? The excitement definitely outweighs the fear and that’s why I’m not giving up, I think. Thanks so much for the support!
You are taking the leap and you are excited about it and that is awesome. You might like this post from a friend of mine about being a combination of extrovert and introvert; you may relate to it and you would definitely like her blog.
Oh that’s fantastic. I’m going to check out both posts. They both sound like topics I’d be interested in. Thank you for the referral!
Let the anxiety flow for now. It seems s though you understand that the first time of anything is going to be stressful. Go with the flow. Many Greeks understand basic English. However, having spent every summer there with my grandparents, I know that if you can master a little Greek before you arrive, the local reaction towards you will be very comforting. I don’t know about other countries. Naked hugs!
I definitely think it is a good idea to know some basic Greek so I’m going to try to learn a few key phrases before I depart! Maybe I’ll download an app or pick up a pocket dictionary. Thanks for that suggestion!!! 🙂
I admire your courage and wish you luck on your trip. I don’t think I could ever go abroad on my own…even taking a two hour road trip alone fills me with anxiety…but I will follow along and live your adventure vicariously through you and, perhaps, be inspired to face my fears and try something similar.
Thanks! Yeah, it certainly can be fear-provoking! Definitely looking forward to seeing what comes of it all. Thanks for following along on the journey!!! Keep in touch 🙂
I really understand whre you’re coming from. I love travelling but I’m also scared of doing it by myself. I think everything, e.g. housing, can be managed but loneliness is the thing I would be most scared of. A friend of min who travels on her own a lot says it’s a pure experience when you are on your own. And when you wann abe with other people you’ll always meet some in some way 🙂 Also; I’d love to travel to Greece too – never been there! Good luck!
Great point! The loneliness is probably my biggest fear. I always envisioned myself taking this trip with my ex and after he and I split up last summer, my whole vision was forced to shift and I’ve had to adjust my plans accordingly. If it means becoming more independent, fine. I’m all for it. I just hope solo travel is fun in its own right. I’m really hoping I can make friends along the way. Who knows. I also feel like if I don’t like it, I can just come home! Thanks for reading and for your support! ?
Wow, we seem to be in incredibly similar situations. My ex and I also split up last year; we only had vague travel plans for this year but facing the whole travel situation on my own is quite challenging. But I’m sure we’ll make friends along the way. It worked like a charm when we were younger, right? Also, I got the feeling he never really wanted to go to Greece. haha
It does sound similar! For me, it was more of a “vision” than a “plan” with him because at the time, I was still figuring out how/when/if I could make such a trip happen. I didn’t really commit to the idea and planning until after the breakup. It’s a shame, honestly, I think he’d have been receptive to it. Idk. But you’re right, there are tons of people to hang out with so loneliness while traveling should hopefully be manageable. Guess time will tell?
Yeah I guess planning a trip a year ahead would be quite early now, wouldn’t it? I’m sure you will be fine… And spending some time by yourself isn’t the worst thing imaginable either.
Sure would be hahaha. And as for your second point: not at all, I’m looking forward to some me time. ?
As much as I’m fine in my own company solo adventure always made me feel un day but as old as I get as more I discover then rather to renounce I go sole ??
Interesting perspective! It seems a lot of people start off nervous about the idea of going alone and grow into it over time as they gain other life experiences. So cool to see that transformation.
I suppose as everything u do it once and realize is not that difficult ?
Exactly! I hope that’s how it is for me!
I’ve only traveled alone in the states, but I like flying alone. I can do whatever I want. I do get nervous about getting on the right plane though. I’m never quite sure what’s going on when I don’t speak the language, so that part would be nerve wracking. Greece is awesome! Enjoy the food and the amazing tomatoes.
The language situation can definitely be difficult to deal with. Oh gosh, imagine getting on the wrong plane? How scary would that be!
Oh boy, I have been there with Arbnb cancelling on me minutes before I arrived via uber! And I have had the panic stranded at the airport with language barrier and cannot figure out how to use the phone service which has no card reader or money collection system, Lol. Man, I wish I had read this blog BEFORE i did my solo trip. Thanks for posting!!
It has happened to you too? Sorry to hear that. It is such a horrible thing that people (on either end!) can cancel on such short notice. Good luck on your future solo trips!!! Thanks for stopping by, Elaine! Didn’t know you liked traveling, hope we can keep in touch!
Loved it, I’ve done only a few alone travels, and every time I love it more and more… great post, keep it going!
Thanks man!! I’m glad you had a positive experience when you traveled alone! I welcome recommendations on locations if you have any. Appreciate you stopping by and following! Keep in touch ?
Well, for now I’ll love to read about your next trip to Greece soon! Wish you the best, keep in touch!
I really think it’s great to get over the fear- I’ve travelled on my own a little and I think it did me so much good. Firstly, I worked myself up over all the things that could go wrong, but ended up realising that once you do it, it’s not nearly as daunting as it seems. And of course you’ll meet all sorts of people! And yes, ultimately, you shouldn’t let anything from putting you off doing something you want to do! I hope you have an amazing time in Greece- I’ve always wanted to go!! 😀
Thank you, Orangutan Librarian! I appreciate you stopping by! I hope I can also have a positive experience. I’m excited to see what Greece has in store for me and I’m looking forward to the whole experience, no matter what it may bring. Keeping my fingers crossed for the best! 😀
I am terrified of traveling alone. Don’t know why. Even if I have to go to the grocery store someone has to come with me. Traveling out of state or to another country would give me a panic attack.
I understand. I have anxiety about being alone in unfamiliar places. Most of my experiences have been positive so far but the trip hasn’t been without rough patches as well. It took a lot of courage to decide to go through with it!