Overcoming Your Fear Of Traveling Alone:
The most common question that follows when I tell people I travel solo is: Aren’t you afraid?
The fear of traveling alone is pervasive and I think it’s one of the major reasons people put off or talk themselves out of their dream trips. My goal in life (one of them anyway) is to encourage more women and women of color to travel the world solo so this post will address some of the reasons people fear traveling alone and how to overcome them.
Fear Of Getting Lonely
“Don’t you get lonely traveling all by yourself?”
No. Because the thing is you aren’t by yourself. Unless the plan is to be dropped off in the middle of the desert with no people around for hundreds of miles, you are not going to be alone. You will meet people in hostels and make plans to spend the day together. You’ll meet people on tours and they’ll invite you out for lunch. You’ll meet people while hiking, trekking, museum-hopping, standing on line, cruising around on the bus, riding the train, flying through the air, the list goes on.
You might still miss friends and family but true loneliness will be difficult to achieve because the world is just chock full of extroverts willing to approach you and join your adventures. When introverts take over the world I may have to update this post, but until then you’ll never truly be alone on the road. There are just too many opportunities to form new relationships when traveling.
Fearing No Support
“But my parents are telling me not to go.”
It’s hard when you don’t have the support of your friends and family. This can range from slight disapproval to full-on pressure to try and make you stay. Either way, it’s difficult when you can’t get the people you care about on board with the things that make you happy.
They may be afraid that something will happen to you as a woman traveling alone. They may have heard things about the country or countries you’re going to visit that unsettled them. Or they may just think it’s a waste of time and money.
Whatever the reason, their lack of support may be wearing you down and holding you back from that solo trip that’s been on your mind. So what can you do about it?
In my case, I had to ask myself a few questions: Am I afraid that something will happen to me? Am I afraid of visiting the countries on my list? Do I think this trip is a waste of money? Are these my fears or someone else’s?
In the end, the answers were these weren’t my fears. They were the fears of my friends and family. So the next and final question was: Am I going to let someone else’s fears stop me from achieving my goals?
I obviously said no to that or this blog wouldn’t exist, but it’s the question everyone in this situation should ask. Are going to let their fears get in the way of your dreams?
Fear Of Introverting
“Everyone says I’ll meet people on the road but I’m an introvert. Won’t that make it difficult?”
Being an introvert myself, I understand this fear completely. I’m the girl in the hostel common room, way in the back, reading a book with headphones in. But despite that, I’ve still collected my fair share of travel buddies and met amazing people everywhere I’ve gone.
Our introversion is not a hindrance. It doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time or make new friends. It just means we’ve got our own magic and it makes us navigate and interact with the world in a different way. Extroverts got magic too and they use it to scope us out and invite on all the adventures we tricked ourselves into thinking we were going to do alone.
Fear For Safety
“What if something happens to you while you are out there all by your lonesome?”
This is a valid concern. Safety is always a valid concern and we should do what we can to protect ourselves and our things at home and abroad. The fear of traveling alone and fear for safety tend to go hand in hand which is why I wrote a post about Solo Female Travel Safety and a list of Travel Safety Items.
As women traveling alone, we do have to think about our safety and I don’t want to downplay the importance of that. But I also don’t want to pretend staying home will keep you safe. Anything can happen to you anywhere. Living in fear and refusing to go anywhere or do anything won’t ensure your safety but it will ensure a miserable existence.
Instead, research the places you want to visit. Talk to people that have been there. Pay attention to government travel warnings and adopt the tips and practices of the many solo female travelers who have come before you.
Fear Of Getting Bored
“What if I just get bored?”
What’s that saying? Money may not buy happiness but I’d rather weep in my mansion? Well, traveling may not be exciting every minute of the day, but I’d rather be bored on a beach in Bali than in the Middle of Nowhere, USA.
It’s true you’ll have downtime, but it doesn’t have to be boring. You can take the opportunity to catch up on reading, finish that series that has been sitting on your Netflix queue, try activities that weren’t on your original list, push yourself to meet new people, get out and wander the city, the list goes on. You may get bored, but if you stay that way is completely up to you.
Fear It’s Just Not For You
“What if I’m just not cut out for solo travel?”
Solo travel isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. If you give it a try and find it’s not for you then don’t feel like you did it wrong or that you need to keep traveling solo until you love it as much as others do. I love solo travel and I want to encourage other women to travel solo but there are many kinds of travelers and many ways to travel. There is no the right or wrong way. There is only the way that is right for you.
The Fear Of Traveling Alone
Is real and common but it doesn’t have to stop you from having the adventures you’ve been dreaming about. I hope you overcome those fears, and get out on the road and find out how worth it all this is.