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Me?? Travel??

Or, scared shitless in Seattle...

Wyoming's lonely roads Photo by Utrecht

Wyoming's lonely roads Photo by Utrecht

Welcome to the Travel Unravelled Q&A Series. To find the rules of the game, please check the link to your left or the revised General Talk thread.

There comes a time in most people's lives when they decide they want to explore something more than their own back yards or the apartment building's hallways. They visit the neighbor's back yard and think, "Hey, this is new and pretty cool. Where else can I go?" Many have watched National Geographic programs, seen vacation advertisements, peered into the travel agency's windows at the posters - all dreaming about an adventure. For some, this is where the dream ends. For others, these things open up a whole new 'back yard' just begging for a visitor to enjoy its offerings. But... (There's always a 'but'.)

At some point, anyone willing to discover a new playground also encounters a brick wall or two. These walls have things like 'the jitters', 'anxiety' and 'fear' scrawled across them. How intimidating is that?! Just when you think you're ready that blob of gray matter in your skull whispers (or sometimes screams), "I don't know... It's pretty scary out there... There could be monsters hiding under those hostel's beds... Maybe you should stay home." You may also feel as though you're all alone when dealing with these issues. Sound familiar? It does to me as I've been there before. Some things still give me the jitters (such as very steep mountains with very narrow roads and no guard rails within miles around - simple thing I know, but still scares me).

HK - Scared Budda Photo by robandem

HK - Scared Budda Photo by robandem

Anyway, the following question asked members for their advice for anyone who is anxious or jittery about traveling. I'm sure their replies won't be too surprising.


How do you deal with the 'first time jitters' of traveling? The General Talk forum sees a number of these questions. (We've just received a thank you for the help our members have given to another member who was reticent about travel a few years ago.) So, go for it - what are your thoughts on how to handle travel for the first time or even dealing with uncharted territory?


First time jitters... wow. First off, I go crazy researching about the place, where to go, what to eat, how to get to the places to visit. Even to the last minute, I research and verify everything especially if it's my first time to visit the place. Then I go crazy (really, I go crazy) preparing everything. I make a checklist of all the things I need. I check it everyday... what I already packed and what I still need to pack/buy. Lastly, I check my budget. I keep on doing that little accounting thing I do. I don't want to run short on cash while traveling so I make sure I really have MORE THAN ENOUGH money.

Scott Tyler (madpoet)

Get on the plane, make sure your tray is in the upright position, and enjoy your trip!

Take it slow. Don't feel that, just because you are in China, for example, you have to eat Chinese food everyday. It's OK to go to McDonald's once in awhile. It's OK to stay home one day of the week and just read or watch TV at your hotel/hostel. Stay in touch with folks back home. And if you are travelling alone, try to befriend other travellers and/or locals that you can travel with and hang out with. That will make your trip more memorable and less lonely.
On the other hand, first-time travel is like swimming: sometimes you just have to jump in. After you've done some basic planning, just go. Get on the plane, make sure your tray is in the upright position, and enjoy your trip!

Caroline (Supafemale)

Realise that the scariest thing is making the decision to go...after that - it's not so scary! :)


Somehow I only imagined the worse things that could happen to me.

I remember the first time I travelled alone, I was also pretty scared. Somehow I only imagined the worse things that could happen to me. But luckily since more than 90% of the fears we have in life never come true and I experienced so many beautiful moments and met so many wonderful people while travelling alone, may fears quickly faded away. :) It is a process that take some time but the more you´ll travel, the more confident you´ll be and the more you´ll get addicted to it. ;)
Have a wonderful trip and don´t worry too much!


Scary... Travelling alone is awesome. I think it would be like an adventure. Someday I might even try it.

Tina Wayland (tway)

For my first solo trip, I picked a country where I knew the language and where the culture was--although different--at least familiar to me. I also planned the basics well: flight and hotel were booked far ahead. Then I got a good guide, read it, followed it a little, and then just went with my gut.
I left really excited more than nervous. I think the nerves came beforehand. The only thing you really have to do is do it! The difference between people who travel and people who don't is that the former just get up and go.

Holly Clark (soupatrvlr)

...I made a concerted effort to get comfortable doing things by myself.

When I decided to travel around the world by myself, I started by researching everywhere I wanted to go. On top of that, I started doing things alone at home...going out to dinner, out to the movies, striking up conversations with strangers, saying hello with a smile to everyone I met...and in the city, they think you want something from them for just saying hi! But I made a concerted effort to get comfortable doing things by myself. Yeah, I was slightly terrified when I first left, but got over that rather quickly. I also made sure that no matter where I was going, I had a guide book with me to fall back on. Sometimes I used it, sometimes I didn't. When you're alone, you meet the most people, meet the most locals, and the flexibility lets you do whatever YOU want!

Quan Zhang (Q')

It might be a good trip, it might be a bad trip. You'll never know until it happens. Rather than worrying about it, I'd rather concentrate on getting there.....

George Nolly (gnolly)

For your first solo trip, be sure to go somewhere you know the language.

For your first solo trip, be sure to go somewhere you know the language. Check the State Department website (http://www.state.gov/) if you're going to a foreign country, and have phone numbers you can call if you have any problems. My advice: go someplace safe (hint: it ain't Mexico!) for your first few trips, until you feel comfortable globetrotting.
Enjoy the adventure!

Mr Custard

Don't worry just go with the flow everything will be fine.


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Posted by Isadora 07:25

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Currently got those 'first-time jitters' as I am preparing to go out and live a nomadic lifestyle elsewhere around the globe. Honestly it has been a long preparation for me (a year and a half) and a definite journey in it's own aspect! From selling everything I owned to living out of the back of my car. Of course I have been couchhopping with my friends and family, also working and living at work in a totally different and secluded environment in my home province. I have been able to get really comfortable with this lifestyle, because utlimately it is a further step towards a change in lifestyle and mentality! Horizons await and that overcomes any kind of fear or jitters!

by Abstract87

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