You want to go travelling, why? It’s not safe, you might get your stuff stolen from the dorm room; you won’t understand anybody, nobody else speaks your language; you’ll just spend all your money and won’t have anything left when you come back?
You may have encountered people who try to dismiss you when you suggest going travelling, even if it’s for a short time. You may even have these concerns about yourself. I know I did, it took me over 5 years to actually set my wheels in motion.
For me, the one of my biggest concerns was my money; I’d saved all this money up and now I would be spending it, the digits in my bank balance just would keep decreasing. I compared my usage during my normal week/month and realised that if I went travelling, if I just gave everything up and went travelling I would have no income, and just be constantly spending my money. I was in doubt as to whether it was worth it. I spoke with people who told me it wasn’t safe to travel; things in dorms always go missing/get stolen, and even government websites discourage people to go to certain places (obviously, don’t visit war zones). That didn’t help my ambitions. I only speak English so how would I travel to these far off lands where they only talk Elvish or Klingon, nobody will understand me and I will be ostracized.
One of the other reasons I postponed travelling was my inability to look after myself properly, how would I function on the road while also moving around all the time? My diet back home consisted of pizzas, and pies, that’s not exactly a sustainable lifestyle to drag myself around Europe. I’d lose things in my own apartment, how would I cope making sure I took everything with me every time I checked out of the hostel? I avoided city buses purely because I didn’t know where the lines went, how would I find the correct bus to take me to another city?
It was this nagging self-doubt in the back of my head that stopped me from going anywhere, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this too. Quite honestly, some of these issues still pop up in my daily life, I rarely get city buses and would prefer to just walk to my destination. My diet is still awful (in fact I think it’s got worse since I discovered the amazing foods that other countries have to offer). The only monumental thing I’ve lost so far is my mind.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, you don’t have to listen to the doubters, either other people of yourself. If you want to start travelling, there are two main forks you can take, you can either dive head first in and hope you swim or, if you don’t want to dedicate yourself to it, take little dips and go back to reality again. In a way, I actually did the second one but without actively realising it. Thanks to my work, I had to go to trade shows across the country and during my time off I got to explore a little, this unknowingly instilled a spark in me and eventually I was able to take the plunge. I understand if your work doesn’t offer this but there are still options. You can have a few days away from home, stay in another city in your own country, maybe even see a couple of cities over a few days break, maybe take a friend or partner with you if you’re not so confident about navigating on your own. The next step could be leaving your own country, visiting a couple of cities in your neighbouring nation, and before you know it, you could be on a multi-national trek over the summer holidays!
This post is one in a series “Downsides To Solo Travel” highlighting some of the more negative aspects that can be found while travelling. I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from travelling, actually quite the opposite, but more trying to explain that it’s realistic to have problems before and during a trip.