I was so scared to travel and I never even considered traveling alone. My friends never had money or time. Frequently, both. If they did, they’d go with their significant other. I didn’t know that people traveled solo simply because they could. Nor did I realize how rewarding it would be. How do you alleviate the fear of traveling?
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How I was Raised
I was raised by older parents who have seen quite a bit in this world. My father has seen more than one person who had their face bashed in with a baseball bat. My mom carries a bit of anxiety around (just like I do). They have always pushed caution and making smart decisions.
I was comfortable going out in my home city and I was always careful when arriving home late. I lived downtown, so it didn’t feel as “safe” as a suburb would’ve felt (though caution should always be exercised). If I went on a date with a person I met on an online dating site, I always told at least one good friend what I was doing, where, and the name of the person I was meeting. I did grow up in the era where meeting people online was considered crazy. Then, it was normal. Online is how I met both my husbands, in fact.
Yep, I’ve had two. Surprise! And meeting people online has never scared me.
Solo Travel started early (but didn’t stick)
Consequently, I didn’t travel solo, other than to fly across the country to meet up with friends. I’ve done that, starting at age 14. Yes, I’m pretty amazed, too. Again, my mom is anxious, yet she still enjoys traveling. She also knew I was capable of these trips. She even let me take an Amtrak train from Ohio to Chicago a year later to visit a friend. As a mom, I’m not sure I could handle the worry. But my mom handled her anxious feelings with grace. It’s probably because she’s traveled some in her life.
I’ve changed and I’m not as scared
Now that I’m married with kids and my brain has changed, I am not afraid to travel alone. However, I don’t want to leave my kids somewhere. Where I go, they will, too. It turns out, that I’m not afraid to travel with them. That’s true as part of a parenting duo or as a solo parent. Yes, I worry about all of the things. What will happen if I get sick? What if they get sick? Or what if we get caught in a natural or man-made disaster? First, I get travel insurance. Second, if I’ll be traveling as a solo parent with my kids, I’ll stick to destinations that I consider “easy” (for now). Third, natural and man-made disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. It is one of the most important reasons to purchase travel insurance.
And on worries about the plane crashing? Books like Cockpit Confidential may help quell your fears. I’m reading it now and it’s worthwhile. It was recommended by my favorite travel blogger, who travels in spite of her anxiety (which is really inspiring to me).
Parental Anxiety is Real and it does affect everyone
You can’t get away from having anxiety as a parent. It will vary in severity from person to person, but it is a real thing. If yours is crushing you, please seek professional help. It’s worth it. Children are our greatest accomplishments, greatest loves, and have the potential to be our greatest loss. We want to keep them safe because there is nothing more important to us than our children.
Daily, we are bombarded with the worst news in the world. The worse it is, the more we will be hearing about it. It is almost paralyzing. But the world isn’t really that bad. There are millions, if not billions, of people who live fairly peaceful lives everyday. There are places that are really, really safe (I’m looking at you, Japan).
Steps to take to ease the fear and anxiety
Buy travel insurance. Yes, seriously, that step alone will likely alleviate your biggest fears. Are you afraid of you or your children getting sick on the road? Travel insurance will help alleviate the worry of big medical bills on the road. Are you worried of experiencing a weather-related disaster while traveling? Buy travel insurance. There are policies that include medical evacuations. Worried about having items getting lost or stolen? Buy travel insurance. I recommend World Nomads, which is also used by all the biggest travel bloggers.
It was drilled into me during my scuba diving training that you needed to buy insurance that covered your diving activities because if you needed a hyperbaric chamber, the treatment for decompression sickness which can happen to even the most advanced scuba divers, it could be a $30,000 mistake. Or more, if you needed to be flown somewhere for treatment. Having that insurance really eased my mind during my diving vacations!
While the world seems really scary right now, it has a lot to do with how the media sensationalizes it. I never would’ve considered living in Mexico without being an avid reader of travel blogs and having a friend who lived here before. I always imagined it would a place I’d be scared to live. It isn’t. It’s beautiful and I’m further enriched by this experience.
What do you do to alleviate traveling anxiety? Is there anything that helps you feel less scared?