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GenY 5 Mental Tricks for Dealing with Fear Of The Unknown on The Road

Male traveller facing an island surrounded by water

Humans have always been fearful of the unknown. When it comes to travel, it’s one of the main reasons people decide to stay home in their comfort zones instead of taking a chance at an adventure of a lifetime. 

These five mental tricks will help you take the leap…

1.  Your Thoughts Are Not Your Reality

The airline loses your bags, your flights get cancelled, your laptop gets stolen. These are some of the more unfortunate situations that could happen to you on your travels. Common thoughts that might pass through your mind are:

  • I’ll have to cancel my trip.
  • I’ll be stuck here forever.
  • I suck.

Yet, when you unpackage these situations and their likely outcomes, it looks more like this:

  • You won’t have to go home, your bags will get to you within a couple days and you’ll be compensated a bunch of sweet new miles for the inconvenience.
  • You get an extra day to explore and enjoy the city you’re in.
  • You don’t suck.

Each of these situations is unfortunate, but remaining calm and realizing your panicked thoughts deceive you is the first step in finding a solution. How to actually accomplish this? Well, this is where meditation comes in handy. Although you don’t need meditation to achieve awareness over your thoughts, it builds the habit of calm proactivityMeditation helps you monitor your self-talk, catch yourself when you’re in a negative thought pattern, and reframe thoughts that aren’t useful.

Ultimately, remember that your thoughts are not your reality, you’re in control of how you perceive each situation.

2. There Is Always A Solution

When I first began traveling, my mentor always reminded me of five words: there is always a solution.  No matter how big or how small the problem, if you look hard enough, you will find a solution. Think back to the countless examples where you encountered a challenge that you eventually resolved in your own life and you’ll begin to notice a pattern. Here’s an example from my travels:

Problem: I got bit by a stray dog in Costa Rica. It drew blood.

  • Solution: Instead of panicking, I calmly went to the local clinic, got a preventative shot, paid for the visit out of pocket, and was later reimbursed by my health insurance. No biggie. Now the local doctor and I are pals and he remembers me as the dude that got sent to the clinic by a 10 pound dog.

Think back to all the times a problem eventually turned into a solution or opportunity. It will help change the way you perceive obstacles.

This has been one of the most powerful mindset shifts for me.

3. This Has Been Done Before

In many countries around the world, it’s customary for young people to take a gap year after high school, after college, or both. This means that there are 18-year-olds out there traveling the world on their own.

If they can figure it out, you can too. This mindset extends to other areas of life too. Humans have been around for thousands of years. Our species has been dealing with fear, uncertainty, and much worse for millennia. As much as we like to believe our emotions and situations are unique, there have been plenty of people that have dealt with similar situations.

If they can, why can’t you?

4. If You’re Uncomfortable, it Means You’re Growing

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” – Tim Ferriss

Being uncomfortable means you’re outside your comfort zone, and that’s where the magic happens. Talk to that girl you think is out of your league, have that uncomfortable conversation with your boss about salary, and take that solo trip to that bucket list location. You’ll be uncomfortable, and you’ll come out stronger and happier for it.  

 5. Control What You Can, Accept What You Can’t

What do Roman emperors, U.S. Presidents, and NFL coaches have in common? Each of them used stoic principles in their lives. One of those principles is: control what you can control, and accept what you cannot.

You’re in control of who you surround yourself with, the places you travel to, and the route you take. Yet, you’re not in control of things like the weather, people’s opinions of you, and if your flight is delayed. Minutes after I snapped the picture below, a thunderstorm hit the national park. Most people were annoyed and cursing at the skies. Instead, I decided to take a nice stroll through the rain feeling grateful for the opportunity to experience the park with fewer people.

Still water lake in a national park surrounded by mountains

Trust that wherever your travels (or your life) take you, you’ll find a solution and an adventure you never could’ve imagined.

Eric has published two books and you can find all his articles on his personal website at erichristian.com.

About the author

Eric Christian

Eric works to write, inspire, and lead thought-provoking leaders around the world through his written voice. He’s published two books and you can find all his articles on his personal website at erichristian.com. Eric believes what initially holds us back from aspiring to pursue a meaningful impact in the world is a combination of our own fears, that result in poor habits. He works diligently to inspire and educate those on this mindset, as well as provide tangible insights and tools to help promote efficient, impactful, and productive work within our daily lives. After quitting his corporate job, he devoted himself to living a life of freedom and on his own terms. He's a digital nomad & personal development nerd who is interested in making himself and the world around him better one day at a time.

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