You may think that with all the travel I do, which is just about every week of the year, that I am a fearless traveler who treks dauntlessly throughout the world. That’s not always the case. Not at all.
Sometimes I just want to hibernate in my hotel room because there’s discomfort on the other side of the door. I may feel perfectly safe and at home within the walls of my hotel but don’t want to venture out into the streets where the culture is different; the foods are mysterious and the words are not understood.
Yes, hard to believe that I can have these anxious feelings, but I do. Have you ever felt the same?
What I’m not going to let happen though is for this initial anxiousness to ruin a visit to somewhere that I’m sure must be wonderful, or why would I have traveled there?
My tried-and-true ways to squash the unease are these:
- Head out the hotel door and start walking (ask the hotel front desk or concierge about the safety of their hotel vicinity). Once I walk a few blocks and start to enjoy the store fronts, peak at a few restaurant menus and see friendly-looking faces, I already feel 100% better. On my first walk, I usually keep to one or two streets so that I can be confident that I can make my way back to the hotel.
- Make a pact on where I’m going to eat. I’ll say to myself “I’m going to walk two blocks and then eat at the very first restaurant I see after that point.” This has been a wonderful way to try restaurants and foods that I normally would have passed right on by without making such a definitive pact. Oh, I might have my 2nd thoughts at first, but a pact is a pact and this approach at swallowing my fear ball has never let me down – and I’ve enjoyed really wonderful foods. (A pact may need to be broken if the appointed restaurant only serves scorpions and cicadas, as my friend Pat encountered in Beijing since a fundamental rule of mine is NO BUGS!)
- Take a ride on a hop-on, hop-off bus if the city offers such a service to explore its highlights. At first I’ll plan on riding the full circuit without getting off, just to get the lay of the land. Though with 100% certainly, I always jump off at a stop that just looks too good to pass up, even knowing I could come back later. Hop-on, hop-off boats are also great! Here’s a great place to start to see if there’s such a tour where you’ll be visiting.
By now, my anxiousness has turned into excitement and I’m off and running! My pre-arranged plans, talks with the hotel concierge, chats with Twitter or Facebook friends and TripAdvisor recommendations for Things to Do (here’s my list from Singapore) and now I’ve got too much to do in too little time. Fear ball conquered!
What are your tips for moving from A to B (anxiety to bravery)?
To receive a free copy of our ebook, 70 Secrets to Safe Travel — Because Your Life Can Change in a Heartbeat, and for more travel savvy info to help you travel smarter, safer and with more enjoyment, visit SmartWomenTravelers.com and PearlsofTravelWisdom.com. Watch for my new book, Business Travel Success – How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive and Travel with Confidence, being published by Morgan James in early 2012.