Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pushing Up Against Travel Fears

Not walking the walk
I talk a big game. Like I can pack up on a whim and go anywhere. Except when it comes down to it (i.e. actually booking a trip) I don't think I can. Sure, I go places, I've been places, but there are certain places that fascinate me and terrify me all at once. It's these places that sneakily coax out that fear that I like to ignore and pretend doesn't exist (me, scared to travel? Never). But oh, it's there.

Notes on India
India has been on my mind for about a year, edging its way into my brain while I was in Thailand, eking out a spot high on the next-trip list by the time I was back at home. Full-blown obsession hit in late summer and I was utterly smitten with the idea of India as my next destination. My enthusiasm, like a cloud of travel trivia and tidbits about this country I needed to visit, swirled around me and eventually enveloped my boyfriend, who pledged his allegiance to this mystical country that would be where we spent part of the winter. 

Stalled and at a stalemate
But now that winter is here, I've stalled out. I've let the guidebooks collect dust (and overdue library fines), I've stopped spouting trivia and I've (gasp) found myself searching out alternative trip ideas. We haven't talked about vaccinations, flights or even a time-frame, and I still continue to linger over every other place but India when I read travel blogs and daydream about where to go next. It's not because I've simply decided to go someplace else (which would be totally fine). It's because I'm scared. There, I said it. I'm scared to go to India.

The fear factor
I'm scared of the pollution, the poverty, the culture shock, the potential for gastrointestinal distress. I'm scared of having to take overnight trains (I have seriously never done this. Shocking, I know). I'm scared of trying to book trains in advance and not being able to get where I want to be, and I'm even scared of not being able to find reliable Internet (something I would need since I would be working on the move). So in short, I am a big ball of travel fear right now. Sigh. 

Moving forward (or just somewhere else)
If we're going to go to India for two months this winter we're going to have to put some plans in place. Soon. We need those vaccinations, we need to book a flight and come up with a rough itinerary. I need to pay those overdue fines on all those India books. But I'm still feeling really unsure, like I'm pushing up against something I'm not sure how to move past or over. I want to go, but I've also been put in my place by this fear and I need to figure out a way to work through it (which really comes down to booking that flight).

Have you ever dealt with travel fear? How did you deal with it?

Images courtesy stock.xchnge, Tarun Ghosh

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