I'm Afraid to Travel

Today’s post might not be chock-full of tips for traveling or fun destinations to check out (if that’s what you’re in the mood for try here or here), but it’s going to be honest. And sometimes, every blog needs to get personal. So here it is. I think I’m afraid to travel.

What the actual sense does that make, right? I love travel. How can I be afraid to travel?? Let’s get some background information in the picture here.

My masters degree is finally coming to an end. No matter how much I complained (okay, and still currently complain) about Temple, it’s given me a lot of opportunity. One of which is being able to teach and support myself while I was in grad school. And the fact that it’s going to run out pretty shortly is a lot scary. Exciting as all get out! But scary too.

I do not have a perfect job waiting in the wings for me. Heck, I don’t even know what that would look like if it came and bit me in the face. And deep down I know that this type of freedom is exactly what I need to figure out what I really want to do - both short term and with my life. I’ve been really into finding my core values and using them as a guide for the choices that I’m going to make in the upcoming year. P.S. Please go read Jen’s post on intentional living. It’s brilliant!

Regardless of what those core values might end up being, the stars seem to be aligning for a bit of a gap couple-of-months. There are a lot of unknowns right now about the next couple of months, but I know that I can make travel possible.

And guys, the anxiety is real.

I’ve been known to talk a pretty big game. What I mean by this is I latch on to an idea and I come up with lots of plans and lots of ways to make it happen. Just ask Paul about the time I convinced myself that being a doctor was the right choice. The problem is that this “big game” turns into planplanplanplan and then…nothing. As you can see, for instance, I am not a doctor nor do I have any intention of becoming a (medical) doctor someday.

In some cases, like the doctor scheme, these plans don’t ever get acted on because I really don’t think they’re the right fit. But in some cases, my plans scare the pants off of me. I convince myself that I cannot do said plan. And then I don’t do said plan. But you better believe that I’m armed with 1,001 justifications as to why that plan was not good for me. Remember when I told you I was running a 50k next month? Ha. Not happening. And, sure, my body would probably fall apart anyway. But you know what I think stopped me from ever signing up?

That stupid mother-effing f-word.

Fear.

So how does travel fit into this, you say? I’m a travel blogger. I’m going to my first travel blogging conference in May. I’ve got weekend trips lined up exploring new cities later this year. How the heck can I be afraid to travel?

Enter my next big plan: Central America. It started pretty innocently. I’ve been seeing a lot of beautiful photos and blog posts about Central America lately. Especially Nicaragua. Did the whole blogging world just discover it or something? Costa Rica has ALWAYS been on my list for traveling, but now other destinations are popping up too. So what did I do? Flipped through a Lonely Planet book of itineraries. And an idea was born. I could go to Central America for a couple of weeks! Heck, I could go by myself! 

As quickly as plans started forming in my head, doubts started creeping in too. What kind of doubts?

Well, for one, I’m afraid I’m going to run out of money. I’ve always been super anxious about money. And a time with 0 income doesn’t really equate to the perfect time to jet off to another part of the world. Sure, I have a cushion. But I also have rent. And what if I never find a job? Alright, alright, let’s not be extreme. What if I don’t find a job for a while and my cushion disappears?

Oh, did I mention this would be my first solo trip? So of course it is a terrible decision I’ve made, right? Wouldn’t it be better to take a more comfortable trip? You know, like one I can comfortably speak the language and not grasp desperately to my high-school level Spanish which will undoubtedly get mixed up with my conversational Italian and turn into Spanglishtalian? Are baby steps better?

Then there’s this whole aspect of what if I’m actually terrible at traveling? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, imposter syndrome is real even in something like travel. I know it makes no sense. But traveling like this would be a totally new experience. And what if I can’t handle it? What if I somehow take the worst bus in the whole world and run into trouble? What if there are too many bugs in the place I choose to stay? I can try to convince myself up, down, and sideways that bugs don’t bother me. I camp for goodness sake. But nope. Believe it or not, bugs seem to pop into my mind for a reason why I wouldn’t be able to do this trip.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME, AMANDA? No. I wish I were joking. My mind takes some weird turns when it’s experiencing self-doubt.

So there you have it. I’m going crazy. So why am I sharing this with all of you readers out there? I’ll be honest, it’s partly selfish. I want you to tell me it’ll be alright. But I don’t think that’s why I was compelled to write this. More likely, I want some accountability here.

Sure, maybe this trip won’t work out. But if it doesn’t work out, I don’t want it to be because I was too afraid to go. I don’t want it to be because I half-heartedly tried to budget and got too anxious and said, “Maybe I’ll just stay home instead of making this work.” I don’t want it to be because I’m afraid a spider (or a thousand) will be my roommates. If I decide I want to go somewhere else, heck, that’ll be a fine reason! If I get a job and have to stick to a home base for a little while and go with weekend trips, sure. As long as that is making me happy. But I don’t want to just not do anything.

So what am I going to do about it?

  1. Journal. And I’m planning on journaling pretty hard. I want to face my fears and that is HARD to do just in my head. So I’m sure I’ll have a saga at the end of this.
  2. Realistically look at my money. Budget travel is a thing. Maybe a 20 person hostel dorm room isn’t my travel style, but I don’t have to be shelling out big bucks for fancy schmancy hotel rooms either. I have to realistically find a sweet spot.
  3. Take a lot of deep breaths and ask for help. I’ve got a great community of travel bloggers and travelers right at my fingertips. I don’t have to be superhero traveler and figure this out all on my own. And asking for help does NOT make me an imposter.

And there you have it. Thank you for being my therapist for the day. I can almost see you nodding as I rant on and on!

Let’s Chat!

  • How do you deal with it when fear holds you back? Seriously, give me all the tips. I’ll appreciate them more than you know!
  • Read any great blogs about Central America travels recently? Send ‘em my way! Not sure of my dream destinations, but I’ll take all of the inspiration.