Beginner travel series fear of travel the nomad experiment
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The Learn To Travel Series: A Brief Apology To Fear

Before We Start This Beginner Travel Series, We Need To Address Fear

See, Fear has gotten kind of a bad rap throughout my life as this outspoken asshat of negativity. A kind of killjoy that tends to ruin good things, constantly making our lives more difficult than maybe they need to be. Mucking up our fancy-free, spontaneous decision-making by adding a negative dimension to almost any situation.

As a beginner traveler, Fear often rides shotgun…if not takes the wheel from time to time.

But here’s the truth: Fear isn’t all bad.

Fear is actually necessary and provides some amazing positive benefits to our lives. I like to think of Fear as the driving force that ensures that we don’t become complacent.

Fear makes sure that we don’t become one-dimensional and careless. Fear lets us know where we need to do more research or create a backup plan.

Fear also fuels the adrenaline rush of adventures, since without a little bit of Fear, they wouldn’t really be adventures at all, would they?

So to Fear, I actually want to say thank you.

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Talk To Me Goose…

Fear—Thank you for being my wingman when I don’t have another wingman…or wing woman.

When choosing to go into a new adventure or experience completely solo or having your annoying, mocking, negative-Nancy-ass by my side, I actually think I’m better off with you there.

You keep me honest. You keep safe. And you keep me from ignoring those feelings in my gut that are usually right. (Don’t worry, we’ll talk all about “going with your gut” later in the series.)

Be Honest With Yourself About Fear Of Travel Or Things That Make You Uncomfortable

Please, put your pride aside for a minute. As a beginner at travel, or really a beginner at anything, there are going to be things that give you pause. Those are the things you want to pay the most attention to learning to overcome to get you to your next level!

Find out why they concern you, research them and the ways to overcome them, or validate or invalidate misconceptions that might be skewing your perspective.

Below is a list of just a few things that might freak you the hell out if you’re learning to travel. But even if you’re somewhat versed, you’ll still have some of these that you feel a bit of trepidation about.

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Honestly, I doubt that a little bit of pre-travel anxiety ever goes away 100%!

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EXERCISE: Identifying Your  Travel Fears

Jot down anything that causes you fear or anxiety when you think about travel. This could be anything in the entire travel process. From packing to airports to language barriers or even taking time away from work.

There will be quite a few exercises and reasons to keep track of your journey throughout this learn-to-travel series, so I suggest getting a devoted journal or notebook and keeping this all in one spot.

Here are just a few things that could be on the list, especially for a beginner traveler:

  • Planning Your Trip
  • Affording Travel / Finances & Budgeting
  • Communication Or Language Barriers
  • Theft or Getting Robbed
  • Getting Murdered
  • The Airport
  • Getting Taken Advantage Of / Mean People
  • Transportation Issues
  • FOMO Back Home (Fear of Missing Out)
  • Food Differences & Montezuma’s Revenge
  • Traveling Solo
  • Traveling with Health Issues / Chronic Diseases
  • Losing Money On Currency Exchanges
  • Being Away From Work
  • Being Away From Home/Family/Pets/Responsibilities
  • Not Packing Everything You Need / Forgetting Something At Home
  • Judgment From Others For Where / Why You Travel
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Rank Your Travel Fears

Now that you’re done jotting down all of your personal travel fears or concerns, put a number 1-10 next to each to rank them, from 1 being least concerning to 10 being more like “Oh…Hell No!” level.

And yes, you can have many with the same numbers, but you’ll be better off if you can disperse them a bit from most concerning to least concerning on the spectrum.

You’re in luck! We’re going to touch on all of these things at many points throughout this beginner travel series!

My suggestion is to pay heavy attention to the ones on the “Oh…Hell No!” end of the spectrum because you’re going to need more work on those.

But don’t forget to refine the ones you’re somewhat comfortable with and celebrate the fact that you’re rockin’ at those!

Good job. That’s all for now!
— Jason

Travel Planning Tips

Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.

Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above. 

Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency! 

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