One year I decided to buy a friend his passport as a Christmas gift. He asked me why and said that he simply didn’t need one. After all, he’d been to Wisconsin and the Bahamas without one, where else did he need to go? To say I was both shocked and disappointed was an understatement. The $90 I had intended to spend on getting him a passport ended up turning into that, plus a trip across the border of Canada. No, it wasn’t an epic adventure, but a stamp needed to be added to his passport and a fire needed to be lit. Permission needed to be granted and traveling the world needed to become a real and tangible possibility. While he’s not actively planning a Euro trip, he is now actually open to the idea of one.
Does this story sound familiar to you? Is there something, other than finances, that’s holding you back from hopping on a plane or jumping in the car and seeing different parts of the world? Even if you want to, the very idea of opening yourself up to new experiences and places can seem unimaginable, so The Compare Site came up with a few ways to break the ice between you and travel phobia.
While you may have grown up in the same town you currently live in, that doesn’t mean you know everything about it. Even when you think you do, there’s usually a surprise or two still waiting to be discovered. Whether it’s a new restaurant or a game of geocaching to help you see your city in a different way, you’ll eventually get the bug of wanting to find new adventures. Eventually, you’ll want to spread out.
2. Get Lost
Honestly get lost. Drive in a direction that you don’t know where to go after a few miles. Don’t rely on your phone to get you back home and just take an afternoon to appreciate the fact that you could be anywhere. You’ll have the safety of knowing you’re in the civilized world rather than the tea farms of Taiwan, but let the adrenaline flow and just navigate based on interests. If you see a diner that looks good, stop and have a meal or a coffee and actually talk to your wait staff. If you like photography, take a camera or even just your phone, and hop out to snap a few shots. Stop into a bookstore or find some little mom and pop shop to look around in. Traveling is about experience. Whether you’re 20 miles from home or 2,000, how you open yourself up to experiences is what will define all of your travels.
3. Road Trip
Experience the highs and lows of travel, either with a buddy or by yourself. Travel can be frustrating. It’s one of the most rewarding opportunities we have, to look at this world, but it’s still life, and life can be frustrating. Road tripping takes time and patience, both with yourself and with others if you choose to take a buddy. You might get lost, have car trouble, lose a wallet or simply get tired and cranky. All of these things happen in everyday life, but they seem magnified when traveling. Get that out of the way with a road trip and recognize that none of those things are the end of the world.
4. Book Your First Flight
Even if it’s a quickie, just get on a plane. If you live in Cleveland, fly to Chicago. If you’re in Denver, hop a flight to Dallas. Make it a movie length flight or less and just do it. Whether you need headphones and a sleeping mask to get you over anxiety or you’re excited to finally travel in the clouds and chatting up everyone in your row, you’re going to be thankful that the first flight finally happened. Pick a destination you can enjoy a night or two in. Definitely grab a good meal and a great drink. Catch a show, a game, or hit a museum. Do something that you know you’ll enjoy and pick up a souvenir that will mean something to you.
5. Plan and Take The Trip
For some people, planning a trip will never be the appeal. While others find it to be the central joy, the build up to what’s ahead. Do it at least once. Whether you ever do it again or it sparks a full on travel bug, you’ll appreciate all that goes into an adventure. Finding a good price, researching an area, reading reviews, it all makes your experience come to life and you get to vacation before you even leave your home. Once you do embark on the trip, remember all you’ve done to get to this point and how those experiences changed you. Take photos, but don’t live through the camera. Buy souvenirs, but don’t let them define your trip. Above all, enjoy the moments that you know you couldn’t have had, had you not gotten outside your comfort zone.