As some of you may know from my social media, I am on vacation with my husband in Asheville, North Carolina. We arrived a few days ago and will be here for about a week. Both of us had never been here before, but the enticement of craft beer, quirky local restaurants, gorgeous scenery, and seemingly endless hiking trails got us pumped and ready for this new city to explore (the added bonus of a week away from work).
I wouldn’t call myself a seasoned traveler, but I have had my fair share of adventures to distant lands unknown as well as some not too far away lands. My travel abroad history includes England, Ireland, Canada, and Brazil. The countryside of Ireland is breathtaking – London is both funky and timeless simultaneously – Brazil has some of the most delicious food and fresh juices I’ve ever had. I have traveled to multiple different states within the continental United States and have lived in four of them. I have lived in Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and currently reside in Mississippi.
I have always had a passion for travel. Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to travel the world and even live abroad at one point. For a fleeting moment, my dream as a kid was to move to Paris and become a model. A fun fact that my uncle likes to remind me about now and again. However, since I only grew up to be about 5 foot 3 inches, my aspirations of becoming a model quickly outgrew me. As a kid/young adult, the thought of getting lost in the novelty and excitement of being in a new place thrilled me. Now it scares me.
To be honest, I don’t know when this started, when I developed all these fears and anxieties about traveling – when it switched from thrilling to fright. I still have a passion and yearn to travel to different countries and neighboring states and cities. The minute a traveling opportunity presents itself my pulse begins to quicken, and I get feelings of such apprehension that I start to imagine all the improbable and unlikely terrible things that could happen if I went.
What if my plane goes into engine failure? What if we get into a car accident? What if terrorists board my plane? What if there is a shooting or some other catastrophic event wherever I am going? What if I get kidnapped? What if there is an emergency at home and I am not there? What if my dogs get out and I am not there to find and take care of them? What if, what if, what if. Gosh, it gave me such anxiety just to type all of that out!
Could of any of these ‘what ifs’ happen to me? Yes. Are any of these ‘what ifs’ likely to happen to me? No. Do I have any control over whether or not these things do happen? Nope! And that is pretty much the outline of the argument I have in my head whenever one/all of those nasty, crippling ‘what ifs’ enters my brain waves.
I still do travel, obviously as I am currently writing this and have already said that I am on vacation in a city and state I have never been to. But the time leading up to the trip and the actual traveling part, I am plagued with constant apprehension, coming up with excuses why I can’t go or reasons to cancel. 9/11 happened when I was in elementary school, so the threat of terrorists and increased security measures has always been a part of my adult traveling life. The current state of our country with our seemingly weekly mass shootings does nothing to ease my anxieties.
Once I have arrived at my travel destination and start having fun, my anxieties begin to ease a bit…just a bit. Then I start to have these feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt. I start to think to myself, “when I get home, I am going to do some major self-improvement. I am going to change my diet, transform my body, change my personality into this crazy happy, out-going person. Then, I can come back here and enjoy myself. I can’t fully enjoy it now, I’m not ready.” Once, I noticed this pattern of holding myself back from enjoying all the experiences a new city or country has to offer because I somehow feel “not ready”, I could kick myself for all the missed opportunities and memories I could have made.
What was past me thinking?! That I would have endless opportunities to travel to Brazil?! That having abs would somehow make London more fun? That having a quiet, introverted personality means that I can’t engage in adventures and merriment? I seriously don’t know what she was thinking. I do know that she was taking the easy way out – putting off ‘until next time’ instead of making the most of the present.
What has helped me start to grow past my fears and truly enjoy the town or country I am lucky enough to visit, is researching and visualization. I am not a planner, in the past when I would travel, I would figure out what I wanted to do when I got to my destination aside from a few major tourist attractions if any. Or I would defer to my travel companion for things they would want to do. Now, I try to research activities to do, coffee shops to try, and restaurants to eat at.
For example, before our Asheville travel adventures Travis (my husband) and I watched a few YouTube videos about Asheville, we researched local restaurants, and I found this stand-up paddleboarding tour that I got SO excited about. Researching restaurants and activities to do while traveling is an obvious one, but it gave me something to focus on and to be excited for.
When I would start to feel anxious about leaving for this trip, I would imagine Travis and I having a romantic dinner at one of the local restaurants we researched or relaxing at one of the coffee shops sipping my latte. I would envision myself paddleboarding down the river! When I would go to bed at night, I would imagine hiking in Asheville surrounded by beautiful greenery and running water. Visualizing these things would help to turn my anxiousness into excitement.
Thank you so much for reading!! What are your travel fears, if any? Do you have any ‘what ifs’ holding you back? What is your dream travel destination?
P.S. I have been back home from our trip for a little while now. I had so much fun and I can’t wait to share more about our Asheville adventures, stay tuned!