Fear

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The nerves are kicking in.

With just over 3 weeks to go before I fly out to Lima the reality of what I will be undertaking has begun to become more apparent. I’m scared. I knew I would be. It’s only natural to fear the unknown. I’m scared of flying alone, scared of missing a flight. Scared that my bag will get lost. Scared that I’ll get lost. Scared that I’ll get robbed. Scared that I’ll get ill or injured. Scared that I’ll be homesick. Scared that I won’t make friends. Scared that the reality of backpacking South America might not live up to what I’ve conjured up in my mind.

I guess the reason why many people avoid long term travel is because of their fear. I hate making a decision and regretting it. But I also believe it’s better to go ahead and take the plunge and make mistakes instead of sitting and regretting the things you never made happen. You may never get the chance again. In my second year of university we were given the opportunity to study abroad. I could’ve gone to Spain, Italy, Finland. I wanted to go, and looked into it. But eventually I decided against the year abroad as I did not want to leave my boyfriend at the time. That study abroad year was only available to me at that time, and now upon finishing university I sometimes regret not going ahead and doing that year.

When I tell people that I am travelling to South America for 3 months, the response I almost always get is, “You’re very brave!”. I wouldn’t say that I’m brave at all. Stubborn more like. I have wanted to go to South America since I was 15, this is the first and perhaps only time I will have enough funds and spare time to be able to fulfill a dream like this – so I am damn well going to do it, whether people join me or not!

But I’m not going to let the fear engulf me and ruin the experience. I will continue to be as cautious as I am at home, and with luck my 3 months will run smoothly without incident (though I am particularly clumsy… and I do have a sort of strange urge to use my first aid kit now I spent so much collecting things for it). I’m excited to see what I’ll learn about the land, the culture and also myself. I guess you can’t grow as person unless you challenge yourself.

Hopefully a great adventure awaits.

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2 thoughts on “Fear

  1. I don’t wanna ruin your day (and it’ll be silly if your day actually IS ruined) but I found traveling in South America to be a plush and fancy experience. The backpacker infrastructure is so well-crafted that you can blindfold yourself the whole time you’re there and you’ll still end up just fine. Many of the chain hostels have hot tubs, DVD libraries, Xboxes, widescreen TVs, bars and restaurants inside the hostels, maids, party nights, and, as you might imagine, people stay in them for weeks without actually going outside. It’s like a frat house or something.

    On the other hand, if you just look for hostels that have high ratings but only a few rooms, you’re much more likely to run into the type of crowd that includes solo travelers or small groups interested in meeting other backpackers. Once I figured out that half the hostels are party mansions, I started looking for the tiny establishments that had only a single table in the common room where everyone could meet and have a conversation together. Good times were had by all.

    Safety issues are pretty standard. I felt safe except when walking alone at night with a backpack somewhere empty and weird.

    Buses suck though. Everything else is easy, but damn is bus transportation ridiculous. All the companies are private and have their own schedules and prices, so you basically just have to walk into the station and go to each counter, ask about times and prices, and compare. Then you ask for a discount and they’ll give you one. Then the bus will take 2 hours longer than it was supposed to. Fun times!

    Anyway, you’ll have lots of fun. Except on buses.

  2. Thank you, reading this makes me feel a lot better. I know I’ll be fine once I get there, it’s just this long build-up to leaving and feeling just how heavy my backpack is that has got me rethinking everything!

    Cheers for your comments.

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