The Fearful Traveler

Posted: February 13, 2013    Categories: Travel

Street food is great and should not be feared

Over the course of the last six years I’ve met many travelers and and communicated with many more who have expressed fears and concerns about traveling.

If the fears were just concerns which kept people on their toes while on the road it wouldn’t be so bad. However, most people let their fears prevent them from traveling and exploring the world.

The list of fears which people have about traveling is almost endless. They include:

  • Fear of getting sick from drinking the water.
  • Fear of getting sick from eating street food.
  • Fear of getting robbed.
  • Fear of getting ripped off.
  • Fear of getting murdered.
  • Fear of getting bed bugs.
  • Fear of not knowing the language.
  • Fear of getting sunburned.
  • Fear of shark attacks.
  • Fear of getting in a car accident.
  • Fear of getting raped.
  • Fear of getting arrested.
  • Fear of carrying their camera or computer.
  • Fear of losing their passport.

I could keep going and I’m sure that many of you have fears that you could add to the list.

Most of the fears are nothing more than manifestations of being in an unfamiliar environment, coupled with the media only delivering bad news about the rest of the world. The end result is an unwarranted fear of the unknown which causes many people to stay at home and avoid traveling.

Bad things can happen when you travel. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. However, the odds of something bad happening are not necessarily any greater traveling than they are at home. The only difference is that you know and are comfortable with the risks you face in your own neighborhood. Risks somewhere else are unknowns, so we have a tendency to exaggerate them.

In the six years I’ve been traveling I have been to over 100 countries and territories and I haven’t been robbed or mugged once. I haven’t been arrested or stranded anywhere. I have never been so paralyzed by a foreign language that I couldn’t eat or sleep. I have had no major accidents. I have gotten bed bugs once and I’ve had food poisoning once. My rate food poisoning is probably on a par with what I suffered before I started to travel.

Perhaps I’ve been lucky. Perhaps I’ve just been smart about what I do and where I go. Either way, hundreds of millions of people who travel internationally each year manage to do so without any of the deleterious effects that most people worry about.

One of the greatest benefits of traveling is getting over your fears. Learning how to become comfortable in foreign places will teach you how to overcome fears in your everyday life. It is one of the primary reasons why people who travel extensively are often so successful in other areas of life.

One of my biggest missions is to get people to over their fears and to get them to experience the world.

Don’t focus on the random bad thing which happens to make the news. Instead focus on the hundreds of millions of people who travel without incident each year.

The world is too amazing to let your fears prevent you from exploring it.

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