Do you have a fear of travel? Do you hesitate to travel solo?
Are you maybe a bit shy?
Do you wonder whether you have the confidence to travel alone?
Well, just because you may be shy and a bit hesitant now does not mean that you will always be that way.
I am a case in point.
Travel solo and people will make assumptions.
I’ve heard it so many times:
- “it’s easy for you”.
- “You’re an extrovert”
- “You’re just naturally outgoing.”
Well, the truth is: I’m not.
I was very shy as a teenager. I was fine in small groups but I was a wall-flower in larger ones. I wasn’t exactly timid but I had my fears. I had great anxiety about going through closed doors. It frightened me not knowing what situation I would walk into. Even into my late twenties when I ran a business with my husband, I managed the details behind the scenes and let him be the face of our business.
How I have changed. As solo traveler, I’m now outgoing and I meet people easily. But I’m 54. A life time of practice and growth has made this look easy.
It’s true, I’ve been rehearsing from this role my entire life.
Learning the ways of the extrovert to overcome a fear of travel.
Fortunately, while I may have been shy, I didn’t have a problem being alone.
- I’ve always been quite happy with my own company.
- I skied on my own every Saturday as a kid.
- I cycled out of the city on my own when I was a teenager.
This experience is probably why I took to solo travel so naturally. But in those times of solitude I was always learning. Quiet in my own company, I read a lot and learned about the world that way. On those weekly family ski outings, I didn’t have a sibling or friend to ski with so I took the singles line, got many more runs in a day than those who went in pairs, and learned to talk to people for the length of a ride up the mountain. On those day bike trips out of the city, I learned how to navigate solo and ask directions.
But preparing to be Solo Traveler involved more than just my times alone. I learned from watching. I watched my father open doors with a smile. I observed how my husband engaged strangers in conversation. I learned that showing interest in others is not only more interesting but deflects attention from oneself and ingratiates one with the world.
Bit by bit, experience by experience, solo trip by solo trip, I have practiced and refined these skills, learning the ways of the extravert.
Yes, I’ve been rehearsing for this role my entire life. And I suspect that you have been to. Even the most shy of us can overcome a fear of travel and grow into our roles as solo travelers.