When I was in university, many of my friends studied abroad. They all came back speaking of life changing stories and experiences. They made it sound like a movie and it was something I always thought of doing. Being in a foreign country, learning a new language, reinventing yourself, meeting girls, and being able to legally drink. For a college student, it sounded like the perfect experience.
Except I never went. I was always too afraid. Not afraid of what would happen but afraid of what I would miss back home. What if I miss “something” – never really sure what that something was except I knew I didn’t want to miss it. I didn’t want to hear stories from my friends. I wanted to be part of them. In my mind I knew I would have created my own stories abroad but I was too afraid about what stories I would miss.
So I never went abroad.
And I regret that decision to this day.
I let fear rule my life. I went with the devil I knew because it was easier. I took the easy way out.
If I let fear hold me back from travel like it did in college, I never would have experienced the world and started on the path that led me to this life. I put off a great experience because I was once afraid. I wasn’t going to let that happen again.
Don’t let your fear hold you back. In previous posts, I’ve written about how now is a good time to travel because of the economy and about how the only secret to long term traveling is desire. But even those with the greatest desire to travel can be held back by fear. It can consume us and hold us back.
It’s always easier to go with the known than the unknown. As the Dutch say, “He who is outside his door already has the hardest part of his journey behind him.”
Fear of what we might miss keeps a lot of people home. What if someone gets pregnant? Married? What about the celebrations? The crazy weekend antics? My favorite places to eat? The list goes on and on.
But if you talk to any traveler, they will all tell you the same thing: nothing changes back home. People might get a new job or a new girlfriend. Maybe they will move. Someone might get married. A restaurant might close. A bar might no longer be cool. But the day to day life will be the same and when you know that, you’ll thank yourself for not giving into fear.
Life never gives you the same chance twice. You’ll never get another chance. Door don’t reopen. Once they shut, they are shut for good. It’s a lot easier to travel than you think. Once you take that first step out the door, anything is possible. Whether it’s a two week trip to Bali, a year long trip around the world, or finally taking the family to Disney, get going now because you are missing a big world out there.
Because at the end, what will you regret not going more than you’ll regret going.