Why I’m Scared To Travel Alone

I am 22, and I’ve never been out of the country—not even to Mexico on a family vacation, or Canada even though it’s only around a nine-hour drive from where I live. The most exciting place I’ve visited is the Grand Canyon. I have a burning desire to expand my horizons and see the world. I’ve got big dreams of places to see, and a plan to collect books from tiny bookstores in countries around the world. The only thing that’s stopping me? I’m scared of traveling alone for several reasons.

What if I get lost?

I’m extremely directionally challenged, and I can’t read maps to save my life. I need landmarks, not north or south directions. I heavily depend on the maps app to get around places. What will I do in an entirely different country, where I may or may not even speak the common language? Get lost, that’s what.

Public transportation baffles me

I live in the Midwest. My commute is a 20-minute drive. I’ve never hailed a taxi. I’ve never ridden a metro or a subway. I’ve never even seen one, unless you count the subpar sandwich shop. The colorful maps look complicated, and are just more charts I cannot decipher. How do I know which stop to take? How do I know which train to get on?

Where will I sleep?

Yes, I know, other countries have hotels. But those are expensive. I know the cost-effective way to travel is staying in a hostel. But often those involve open rooms with lots of other people, and I wouldn’t feel safe sleeping alone in the same room as 10 random strangers. Also, I take the comfort level of my bed extremely seriously. I have three different types of memory foam pillow and a carefully curated collection of blankets. I’m not sure the sleeping arrangements elsewhere will stack up. And how will I enjoy taking in a plethora of beautiful sights when I’m too tired to keep my eyes open?

Some adventures need a partner in crime

Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time alone. Ninety-seven percent of my free time is spent lounging alone on my couch watching Netflix. But the types of adventures I’d want to go on while traveling—sightseeing, hiking, exploring cities, visiting museum, etc.–all just seem more fun with someone else to share the experience with. I’m sure traveling to new places can still be fun by yourself, but I think I’d prefer to have a companion.

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None of these things are deal-breakers, and I’m still determined to see the world however I might be able to. The excitement of traveling outweighs the fear of traveling alone, but there is some added stress and anxiety involved with the thought of embarking on a trip by myself.

Do you have tips for traveling alone? Tweet them to us @litdarling!

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