With recent world political events there are many people putting off travel plans. Uncertain on whether they will be allowed into or out of specific destinations, many people are opting to stay home and remain close to friends and family and wait. Wait for something, anything to happen and for the ‘certainty’ of travel to return.
In truth there has never been any certainty in travel. Never! Right back to our nomadic routes there was never certainty that moving from one place to another was going to be any better than our current location. The early explorers certainly didn’t know what they were in for when they set off to find undiscovered new worlds, or even if they’d ever make it back to see their friends and family. Yes, the world is smaller in our digital age and we know more about the world than ever before but that still doesn’t guarantee certainty.
Travel is, in many regards, a leap of faith. A leap of faith that may be different for each individual, but in every case, there is always an element of trust. The backpacker who buys a one way ticket to Europe and ‘trusts’ that things will work out is obviously different to the person who meticulously plans and books every last detail for a 3 month South East Asia trip but both these travellers are faced with many of the same doubts and uncertainties.
They are both trusting that the taxi driver won’t rip them off, that their accommodation will look like the pictures, that they won’t be robbed, that they won’t be stuck in the middle seat on the airplane between 2 rather large people and so on. Traveling, like most things in life, is full of risk with an infinite number of possibilities of what can go right or what can go terribly wrong.
It’s very easy to let the fear of the unknown stop us from venturing out into the world but here are some ways to help you better understand and even embrace the uncertainty of travel –
When our elected politicians let us down we sometimes have to do the work ourselves. As an Australian I cringe when I see fellow countrymen overseas drinking excessively, swearing and disrespecting local culture. While this may have become common place in certain sections of our society it doesn’t send a good message to behave this way overseas. This can breed the resentment, racism and discrimination that divides us instead of noticing all the many qualities and traits that we have in common when we treat each other with even just a basic level of respect.
Traveling puts all our first world problems in perspective. When we are at home we are familiar with the way things work. We are surrounded by friends and family and other support systems, we know how to access the things we need and where everything is located. We are safe and comfortable so any problems we may have can see huge and insurmountable. Traveling will put all these to the test. Seeing how a farmer survives on the mountain side in Colombia and the challenges he faces daily just to get water or standing in a natural disaster zone and trying to provide aid to those who have lost everything really does make you appreciate what you have and put your own problems in perspective.
Having that piece of mind of knowing that if something did happen you could get home again is a huge relief. Breaking a leg hiking in Nepal or getting Malaria in Africa and knowing that medical expenses will be paid and you can get home again will be a massive weight off your shoulders. Be sure to read the fine print and get a policy that suits your travel style and covers the activities you plan on doing.
We fear what we don’t know. If you have never been, experienced or felt before that uncertainty produces fear which we instinctively want to “be safe” from. This includes staying home and staying in what we know.
It is normal to have reservations about dealing with the unknown. Add in the factor of facing those uncertainties in an unfamiliar place while traveling, and that fear can easily multiply. A healthy amount of caution and apprehension can keep us safe, but it is vital that we do not let those fears prevent us from travelling.
So embrace the uncertainty of travel, it is after all, nothing new. Travel with an open mind and appreciate and respect the differences in people and places. Go traveling and show the world we are not all like our politicians or our stereotypical countrymen.
Originally published at medium.com