Last year, I traveled to South America for the first time and I can still remember how nervous I was during my trip planning. I had never been to South America before, I speak only a little bit of Spanish and then during my trip planning I had read several reports from a few travel community forums of travelers who were victimized while visiting Buenos Aires. I had read stories of pick pockets, scams, robbery, kidnappings and even assaults. Needless to say, it struck “fear” in me and put a huge dent in my confidence as a female solo traveler. At times the feeling was so intense that I nearly changed my travel plans.
I came so close to letting “fear” take over my sense of adventure and my confidence in myself. And then I thought back to the year before and how I got over my fear of hiking alone and decided to hike the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast. And what did I learn from that experience? I learned that overcoming my fear allowed me to enjoy a wonderful hike and the ability to witness some pretty amazing scenery that one can only experience while on the trails.
I decided to take control of my fear and once I did I was more relaxed. I ended up having a blast in Argentina and now I’m heading back to South America to visit Peru.
Conquering my fear of going outside comfort zone while traveling has opened up the door to so many more possibilities of places I want to see, things I want to do and dreams I want to fulfill.
Here are some tips on how you can travel outside of your comfort zone.
1. First accept that fear is not an option.
2. Educate and learn as much as you can about your destination and/or activity you want to do (ie., safe neighborhoods to find lodging, tips to avoid being scammed and/or pickpocketed, etc.).
3. Be prepared (ie., learn a few key phrases in the language of the country you’re visiting and do your research).
4. Remember that some things are best done with others. While in Buenos Aires, I really wanted to watch a La Boca Jr. Soccer game, but I didn’t feel safe going by myself so I signed up for a group tour. It ended up being fun because I could just relax and enjoy the game, because I was with other tour members, some of whom were male solo travelers :).
5. Finally, have confidence in yourself, be adventurous, be smart, allow yourself to be open to experiencing all things new and/or different and finally have fun.