I’m scared of travelling alone.
Early next year, I will be flying to Austria, spending a week in Vienna by myself and then going to Graz for three weeks to study Inclusive Education at the university there. All by myself.
I’m excited and very grateful I have this opportunity. I can’t wait to see what studying at university is like in Europe and to see snow and to explore new cities and to wander in museums and practice a new language. But it’s a little overwhelming as well.
I have never travelled anywhere by myself. I’ve never caught a plane by myself, I’ve never stayed overnight somewhere by myself. I spend a lot of time alone and I’m pretty confident getting around my own city, but I’m worried that I will be in over my head.
I don’t like flying. I get stressed about directions easily. I find it hard to be assertive and ask what I need to know even in a society where I speak the predominant language. I worry about making decisions. I worry about running out of money.
I’ll be a young woman travelling alone. That may sound brave, but I don’t feel brave. I just feel like I’m taking a huge risk.
These are all reasons to be afraid of travelling alone. But they are all also reasons I am going to do this and go travel alone. Though there are times my head gets full of all my fears – some valid, some not – I won’t even for a second consider not going.
I want this trip to be a chance to grow in myself and in my own confidence and ability to look after myself. I’m hoping that if I survive this trip, the idea of going out on my own when I graduate university and become a teacher in about a year and a half won’t seem so overwhelming and terrifying.
So I’m planning. I’m practicing. I am using Duolingo, a language app, to teach myself some German. I am researching what will be open in Vienna during the winter, what clothes I need and how much the things I want to do will cost. I’m saving and saving and saving so I will have money to eat food and get trains and still do some fun things.
When I start worrying about something, I do something about it. For example, the other day I suddenly got overwhelmed by the idea of being lost in Dubai Airport on my own, so I googled it. I looked up reviews from people who had been there and looked at lists of suggestions of what to do there.
I’m very lucky. I have a university who is letting me use this course for credit in my degree. I live in a country where the government will let me take a loan out on top of my student loans to fund studying overseas. I have supportive parents who love me and are helping me. I have a job where I can earn and save money towards my trip. I have friends who are excited to hear about my trip. I’m excited. I’m excited to travel, and I’m even excited to travel alone.
I’m just a little scared as well.
P.S. You might notice the pictures I use in my blogs getting more frequent and, well, better. I’ve started using Death To Stock, an amazing group who want good stock photos to be available, free. If you sign up, they will send you awesome photos to use in whatever you like every week.