Traveling can be challenging at times. Language barriers. Fears of the unexpected and unknown. Figuring out the cultural norms. And “roughing” it. And yet, people absolutely love it. It’s such a high.
This is because overcoming the challenges and fears of travel makes you feel accomplished. You grow more confident as you keep doing things you never thought you could do. You get a sense of pride after you realize you’re more badass than you originally thought.–I mean you knew you were a badass, but damn! This girl is on fire!!
This feeling is amazing and makes you feel like you can rule the world.
And this feeling multiplies when you solo travel.
Well, the harder the challenge, the more rewarding it is after you conquer it. Think about it.
When you run a 5k, you leave feeling good, but imagine how great you would feel if you had accomplished a marathon. This “marathon,” however, freaks people out. And rightfully so.
When you solo travel, you are left with the responsibility of making friends, planning all your accommodation and transportation, and making sure you’re motivated enough to check everything off on your travel to-do list.
You have to keep yourself in good spirits in times of loneliness and you have to stay fearless in times of crisis. But yet, people, including myself, absolutely love it. It’s the greatest of highs. The challenges will require more effort, but the payoff is huge.
So huge, it can save you.
Save you? Am I being a bit extreme? No, absolutely not.
After I had broken up with my boyfriend of two years, I was scared shitless of ending up alone. And ironically, I ended up traveling completely alone to Hawaii. There was a night of tears in the first week after I found myself lonely as fuck in a hostel in Waikiki. They had no age limit, and the hostel was flooded with older adults, none of which I felt I could actually go on an adventure with.
So, there I was curled up in my bed, crying, watching the movie “Eat. Pray. Love,” and trying to hold on to my optimism. But it wasn’t working.
I had just let go of the love of my life. I was completely isolated and so unsure about everything in my life.
My destination felt like rock bottom at that point, not Hawaii. But I summoned my strength, put aside how sad I was, found other ways of meeting people, and ended up having the best month of my life.
And after sharing this story, people would say ‘oh, but I could never do that.’
But here’s the thing: it is almost guaranteed that you will find the drive you need to reach your highest point after finding yourself at your lowest point.
This is because you have no other option but success.
What’s Next I Thought
So I reached out to the couch surfing community. I got lost on the streets of Hawaii. I approached locals. I eventually changed hostels and talked to everyone in my new hostel, and soon enough, making new friends became effortless.
So first challenge, mission accomplished.
And then I noticed I started getting the confidence and strength to conquer everything else that came my way. This is because conquering your fears is the best way to grow as a person and create a life you’re actually happy with.
This is how it goes: Conquer Fears → Feel Powerful → Conquer more shit → Realize you have the power to do anything in your life → Rule the world
So off I went to attack, literally attack and my other fears with all my might. I figured out:
- Public transportation for the first time.
- I climbed up a waterfall.
- I jumped off a 45 feet cliff.
- And I skydived.
This may not seem like much fear was involved, but for a girl who has sheltered most her life, it was pretty big. I used to get scared to sleep in the dark. (Yeah, you can go ahead and make fun of me, whatever.)
Don’t get me wrong, though, I still freak out about stuff, just like anyone else. But now I look at fear in a completely different manner. If something scares me, I feel like I have to do it.
When I was debating between traveling to Honduras or Costa Rica, I learned that Honduras is ridiculously unsafe with gang related issues and drug problems. Costa Rica, on the other hand, was safe, sound, and full of tourist.
So, needless to say, I said fuck it and booked Honduras.
And I’m scared shitless.
But I’m one step closer to becoming fearless, and when you’re fearless, you can rule the world.
When you’re fearless, that’s when you can chase your dreams without worry. That’s when life’s problems no longer phase you, but excite you. And that’s when you get massive confidence.
I’m probably just exaggerating about how much it helps a person though, right? Not at all.
Because this tackling of fear will then translate into your everyday life.
You will be more likely to take risks in other areas of your life like your romantic relationship, your career, your friendships, your health, etc. But what if you don’t have any fears back at home in your comfort zone?
Well, one of the reasons conquering your fears is such a cliché topic is because not many people actually recognize fear, and therefore, do not conquer them.
Think about all people you know who have picked a safe career instead of chosen to follow their dreams. Or think about the people who complain about their jobs but do nothing about it. Or think about the people who haven’t even allowed themselves to have dreams.
This, my friend, is because of fear.
Think about the people who are in relationship with someone who just isn’t good for them, but he or she refuses to leave their partner. This, my friends, is because of fear.
Now think about your own life. Are you not moving forward in any aspect of your life because of fear?
Well, this may be hard to determine, because fear can hide in what is socially acceptable. Our culture has a tendency to advise you play it safe in almost every regard.
To demonstrate this, simply think about when you were in college deciding on a major.
During my experience, a lot of people told me not to focus on the money and instead pick something I’m passionate about. But as soon as I picked creative writing, a line of adults stood ready to lecture me about how competitive it is and how little money I will make.
I was finally pressured into switching to journalism, but I didn’t realize I did this out of fear until after my first solo trip. When I returned, I took my new fearless mindset and applied it to everything.
I decided I am not going into corporate America. It’s not what I believe in, and it won’t help me chase my dreams. Instead, I want to be a travel blogger. I want to inspire people to solo travel, because I wholeheartedly believe it can change your life.
Yeah, it freaks me out too. So maybe that’s a sign I’m doing something right. And maybe you should:
- Get freaked out by something too.
- Maybe you should get lost and figure it out.
- Maybe you should stop vacationing and start challenging yourself.
- Maybe you should do something you never thought you could.
- Maybe, just maybe you should solo travel.
Post by Angella Grey, the marketing manager at The Vacation Rentals Experts – an online and offline digital marketing agency that creates marketing solutions for vacation rentals, holiday homes and brands.
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