Okay friends, I’ll be really honest with you. No matter how many times I get on a plane to a new country, there’s always that little bit of fear inside me. But what I’ve learned over the years is that the fear is okay, it’s totally normal and actually a good thing! I’ll talk a bit about how that fear fades over time, but what parts don’t, we have to learn to embrace. I could probably even also make the title of this blog embracing the fear, because what I’m hoping I can share with you today is why that little voice of nerves in our head should be embraced, not ignored.
I first experienced this fear before getting on a plane to study abroad in Australia in 2012. For about 2 weeks I was so nervous (I looked a lot like I do in that photo!) that I could barely eat. People would ask what I was so nervous about and here’s the best way I could describe it. I was leaving on November 4th, so for most people here that meant Thanksgiving was only a few weeks away. Now when you ask an American what their Thanksgiving plans are, most of us can describe in detail the family or friends we’ll be seeing, where we’ll be flying to, and what food we’re looking forward to most. And everyone I asked could tell me what their plans were. When you asked me what the fourth Thursday of my November would look like? I think my answer was something along the lines of “Umm…a dark scary unknown abyss.” I truly had no idea! I couldn’t even begin to tell you. And that, was beyond scary.
But, the more I’ve traveled the far less scary not knowing what’s on the other side of that plane is. In fact, I actually love the unknown so much I’ve written a blog post, Finding the Unknown, about how exciting it actually is! But there is a whole process that goes into actually taking that first leap of faith and saying, “fear be damned, I’m getting on that plane,” and that is where embracing the fear comes in. As humans, going on a new adventure of any kind will always make us a little bit afraid, but here’s the good news – that little ball of nerves is what makes us double check our flight plan 12 times before pressing purchase, it’s what tells us to pack that raincoat just in case, and it’s what makes everything else on the other side that much more exciting.
The fear makes things more exciting? I know, it sounds crazy. But truly that little voice helps us prepare for the unknown, be ready for the unexpected and be that much more excited, exhilarated and comfortable when everything turns out okay (which let’s be honest, it’s almost never as bad as we make it out to be in our heads!)
Feeling the fear is common amongst every traveler, and so is embracing it! Check out this blog post from Dreamer at Heart, Fear of Traveling: 6 Tips to Face it and Embrace It, for some great words of advice!
I can’t promise you that the fear will ever go away entirely, but I can assure you that it’s there for a reason, and like everything else in life, it’s a balance. Listen to the fear, don’t hide from it. Embrace it, don’t ignore it. But most importantly, don’t let it stop you from going on an adventure (any adventure) that could change your life forever!