You’re ready to travel. You even bought a backpack. You told your friends that you’re taking off within the next few months. You have a general itinerary and you can’t wait to get on that airplane.
But you also know that your travels probably won’t happen in the end. You’re fully aware that despite the excitement of travel, despite your desire to get out there and see the world, you just don’t have the necessary confidence to actually do it.
I remember it well. I remember telling everyone I knew that I was leaving to go traveling for 3 months back in 1999. I also remember, right after telling someone about my plans, thinking to myself, “Oh crap, how am I going to explain it when I don’t actually go?”
I thought this because I also lacked the necessary confidence to travel, to turn all of the plans in my head into a reality. Just the thought of traveling on my own, the thought of showing up in a foreign land without my friends, my family, a familiar language or familiar food and so many unknown obstacles that I might have to face, and not know how to deal with, was enough to convince me that there was no way possible I was really going to do this travel thing.
And then I flew to Bangkok on Christmas Day of that year.
How did that happen? Where did that boost of confidence come from that enabled me to get on that plane and fly off into the unknown?
I have no idea. All I do know is that I found that confidence somehow, and I’m mighty glad I did. And I also know that there’s no reason at all why you can’t overcome that lack of confidence too.
Now that I’ve traveled for a while, and communicated with so many people who have experienced that very same lack of confidence in their own ability to travel, I’ve realized that there actually are ways to get that extra boost, ways to ensure that your excitement about travel is not left to waste.
After all, what a shame it would be to really want to see this world first-hand, and to then tell others about your goal, but to end up not following through.
We can’t let that happen. No way.
So don’t give up. Try a few of these ideas instead:
1. Someone loves your idea. Find them. – Surely there must be a friend or family member, or maybe several, that supports your decision to travel. Get them on the phone, write them an email and communicate with them often. Discuss your ideas with them and observe the confidence they have in you, while understanding that they know you best…and if they think you can take on such an adventure, you should think so too!
2. Heck, we support you. – If you can’t find friends or family who support your travel ideas, or even if you do, you can always turn to the community of travelers online to gain that extra confidence. Considering that everyone finds their own way to achieve their travel goals, surely you can connect with people who were in a similar situation as yourself, whatever that may be. Write to travelers, ask for advice and listen to what they have to say, all the time remembering that if so many of these other people have managed to make travel happen, there’s no reason why you can’t make it happen as well.
3. Why do you want to travel? Figure it out. – Think about exactly why you want to go off and travel and then narrow it down to one or more specific goals. This will allow you to take real steps so that you can see your travels develop right before you, instead of having no clue how to proceed. And taking real steps leads to increased confidence. Just saying “I want to travel” doesn’t really lead you in a particular direction so how can you gain confidence when you don’t know where you’re headed? On the other hand, if you know you want to learn about religion in Asia, for example, figure out which religion, then figure out which country and region you should visit to find that religion and once you’ve done that, you can communicate with others who’ve been to that destination and ask them questions, find out where they stayed, whether they have any contacts, etc.…now you’re rolling, taking actual steps, creating a comfortable structure to your trip and gathering information to help guide you.
4. Just buy that ticket. – You could just get online right this very instant and book a flight ticket to somewhere you want to go. And if you’re looking for the cheapest fare possible, that ticket will also be non-refundable, which in this case is simply…excellent! Buy that ticket and you have no choice but to find that extra confidence to travel because in a certain amount of days, you either get on that plane and start traveling or lose a lot of money.
5. Be a traveler, right now, at home. – Find the closest town or city to where you live that has hostels and book a couple of nights at the most popular one. Go there on your own, maybe for a weekend. This easy experience will put you right into a travel environment and it will also show you exactly why you’ll never be alone, unless you choose to, when you travel overseas. Talk to as many of the other travelers there as you can, hang out with them and listen to their own travel tales. I’m certain that after one weekend of this, you’ll be completely ready and more than confident to proceed with your international travel plans.
6. Start with a group. – Maybe you just don’t want to travel independently, and that’s perfectly fine. Your answer might be joining a small group tour so that you can still experience a destination without needing all the confidence you would need to travel by yourself. That’s exactly why I started offering my own unique small group tours, so that everyone has a chance to visit certain destinations that they otherwise might not visit on their own. And I can’t tell you how many people have joined one of these tours and then gone on to travel to other destinations by themselves, with more confidence than they ever imagined possible.
Really, try a few of those ideas above. Then let’s see if you still have that ‘No way am I really going to do this’ thought in your head.
Also, just remember…I’m out here. I’m writing this post from Bucharest, Romania, and it looks like I’ll be in a few more countries over the next couple of months as well.
And of course, I’m not the only one! Just have a look at these travelers. They are all out here in the world right now or have been out here or get out here into the world as often as they can. They all faced the same obstacle as us at one point as well – that lack of confidence – and they all overcame it…and I’m positive that they are all so utterly and absurdly thrilled that they did.
Don’t you want to be that thrilled?
What’s your experience with gaining the confidence needed to travel? Was it easy? Did you struggle?