In any form, travelling is one of the most satisfying experiences out there in life. Short breaks with friends or a solo trip of epic proportions, there are few people who ever regret experiencing new cultures, sights, smells, and all the rest. Like all those cliche travel quotes we read and love so much – you know, “because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office” etc. But today I want to talk about something a little different: fear and travelling.Being just a few short months away from embarking on the biggest adventure of my life, the very real excitement is coupled with an occasionally overwhelming fear. The type that sometimes paralyses me when I wake in the middle of the night and makes me feel sick to my stomach when I imagine saying goodbye to the people I care about. As a naturally cautious person, I know how it feels for your comfort zone to be your best friend. Dreaming of adventures from the safety of your office desk or snuggled up in bed is very different to leaving everything that you know behind.
So why do we feel so much fear at the thought of leaving our comfort zone, even if it’s for something we want to do more than anything in the world?Change causes stress. Changing jobs, the start or end of relationships or moving to a new place, whether they’re positive or negative differences, our routines alter around these changes and this makes us panic. With travel, the magnitude of change is amplified. We aren’t just leaving our house, job, loved ones – we’re leaving it all at once and everything consistent in your current life will change. I mean, when you think about it that way, it’s amazing that anybody ever willingly changes anything in their lives.
But I guess the thing is that safety doesn’t always equal happiness. While routine can be comforting, it can also be stifling. Sure, things can go wrong when you take a step outside your day to day routine. But then, things go wrong on the most ordinary days and unpredictable times. Even if we accept that there’s a greater risk of failure from doing something that requires a great deal of change, would it be better to live in fear and never take that chance?
Weirdly, after thinking about it, I think it’s actually fear itself that can be the driving factor for a lot of us; the fear of looking back with regret at the things we didn’t do. For me, this outweighs the risks – although depending on the day, my mindset can be way less certain than how I feel right now – and hopefully it will continue to overcome the lure of the comfort zone.
I’ll leave you with this quote by C. Joybell C. After reading it last summer, it has stuck with me ever since and sometimes gives me that extra push when I need it most.
“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you: they’re there to let you know that something is worth it”.