Who’s Afraid of the Dark? – Why I Am Scared to Travel

I talk about The Big Trip a lot. No, really, a lot. I would apologise to my poor friends who have to talk about it every time they have a conversation with me except for the fact that it’s their job to deal with it πŸ™‚ As I was sat down at a friend’s house last Sunday, chatting to a guest who was staying there for the week, he cottoned on to my being “the one who’s going to Africa.” Shortly afterwards he says, “Guts, eh!” which, to those of you who wouldn’t pick up on the Maltese intonation, translates to, “You’ve got guts.” He’s not the first to say something to that effect and, as flattered as I am by the sentiment, I would like to come clean by admitting that I’m actually a complete scaredy cat. I’m the girl who, for many years, wouldn’t speak to a salesperson in a shop out of shyness and would (and has) sooner cross the street than be forced into an awkward conversation with a distant acquaintance heading her way. Something changed along the way and I can now muster up the courage to answer a withheld number on my phone or ask a stranger for the time (although I still avoid the awkward conversations), however there are still plenty of reasons I am scared to travel alone.

A few things that scare me about The Big Trip:

  • I will run out of money
  • Something will happen to my family while I’m away
  • I’ll be bitten by a snake when I get up for a pee in the middle of the night and will be found stone dead in the morning, with my knickers round my ankles
  • As a solo female I’ll be targeted and have all my stuff stolen
  • I’ll get so completely lost that I will never find my way out of the country again
  • Travellers’ diarrhea. Delhi belly. Sigh.
  • The inevitable: at some point, no matter what I do, a cockroach is going to fall on my face.

I have nightmares about the last one.

Here’s the thing though, no matter how much the thought of some of those fears makes me want to wet myself, there is a stubborn part of me that stamps her foot and throws a hissy fit whenever I get so scared I think I might not be able to go through with it. I have come to accept that my reasons for going forward with my plans are mainly down to stubbornness and denial; if other people want to call it bravery, then who am I to correct them?

And so my plans are still forming. I’m reading, I’m saving, spending and dreaming and, most importantly, I’m getting there.

Some light bedtime reading

I’m doing as much research as I can so that, hopefully, should any of the above scenarios befall me, I won’t panic quite so much and will be able to come up with a gameplan quickly. Part of my research is just learning about the countries I’ll be visiting, the rest of it is reading about others’ experiences in those countries and when travelling in general. The internet is an invaluable resource in that regard.

That said, no one has mentioned a cockroach-on-face strategy. Perhaps I should put one together.

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. CrazyKatie says:

    I spent a month in Africa about 18 months ago. I spent ages planning and had everything organised perfectly for my trip around southern Africa.

    And then the snow came….. and my flight out of Heathrow was cancelled. So on the day I was to fly to Zambia I had to cancel my entire trip, and rebook flights to Kenya. Disaster….

    I ended up traveling around Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya on the fly with no planning or organizing done. And guess what? It was amazing πŸ™‚

    So don't worry about your trip – it will be fantastic. There will be rough times – but those are the ones you'll remember fondly and which will fuel your traveling tales when you get home πŸ™‚

  2. Hannah says:

    That's a great little story! Part of the reason I know I will go ahead with this no matter how scared I am is that I know my fears are really just of the unknown, and things are not going to be as scary in actuality as they are in my head.

    It's also great to hear that you can have a great time without having planned a thing. Sometimes wading through these massive guide books is a bit daunting πŸ˜‰

  3. Sarah says:

    If you are bitten by a snake in the situation you mentioned I'll be sure to tell everyone there were some mighty fine knickers you were wearing!

  4. Hannah says:

    Thanks for having my back πŸ˜‰

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *