When I announced to buddies and loved ones that I was going to travel the planet, they told me I was creating the greatest error of my life.

“You’ll under no circumstances survive,” they stated. “People like you do not travel.”

They had a point.

I had under no circumstances travelled prior to, outdoors of my two-week-extended holidays to fancy resorts with my loved ones when I was younger. The believed of traveling solo, or leaving for extra than a couple of weeks at a time, was extra than daunting.

My lack of travel expertise, even though, was just the tip of the iceberg.

When I decided to take the leap, I was also battling an anxiousness disorder that had kept me in its grasp for the improved aspect of a decade. It was an illness that, at its worst point, had left me housebound for a period of six months.

My anxiousness brought with it panic attacks, many occasions a day for months on finish.

I was fighting an consuming disorder, as well, as my 1st reaction to anxiousness immediately became to cease consuming. At 1 point, I weighed 38 kilograms and was surviving solely on fruit.

That is not all.

A sheltered upbringing and a determination to steer clear of something that could trigger a panic attack meant I had no life expertise and possessed tiny popular sense. I didn’t know how to function in every day life.

I had under no circumstances been on a bus prior to.

I had under no circumstances eaten rice.

My buddies have been ideal: I wasn’t the form of individual who travelled. But I decided to leave anyway because travel was usually a thing I’d dreamed of. I was miserable at house and felt I had practically nothing left for me there.

Certainly getting a panic attack on a beach in Thailand had to be improved than getting 1 at house?

That was 4 years ago.

Due to the fact then, travel has changed my life in so numerous good approaches.

Lauren at the Grand Canyon
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I conquered my anxiousness disorder

I was six months into my trip when I abruptly realised I hadn’t had a panic attack in weeks.

Two main items contributed:

  1. Travel gave me an abundance of time to figure out what my anxiousness triggers have been and how I could either steer clear of or overcome them in the future.
  2. Travel challenged me to face the items that terrified and intimidated me till I realised they have been under no circumstances as negative as I’d feared.

The mixture has accomplished wonders for my mental well being and wellbeing.

Travel didn’t get rid of my anxiousness for fantastic – I’ll most likely battle it for life – but it equipped me with coping mechanisms to manage it.

When I lately knowledgeable a bout of it, rather than letting it take manage like I had in the previous, I gently pushed myself to attempt new items, learn new areas, and take time for myself.

Study extra – 4 Anxieties You Face As a Solo Traveler and How to Beat Them

I changed my attitude to meals

So numerous folks name meals as 1 of their greatest motivations to travel. For me, it was my greatest barrier.

I’d under no circumstances even attempted Chinese, Indian, or Thai meals prior to.

For the 1st couple of months on the road, I floundered. I subsisted on meals purchased from supermarkets – pringles, chocolate bars, and bottles of Coke. I was afraid to attempt new flavours.

Heading to Vietnam changed every thing.

A buddy coerced me into attempting a steaming bowl of pho and it was the most effective point I’d ever tasted. From that moment on, I gulped down bowl soon after bowl soon after bowl, ultimately branching out to attempt other soups and gleefully discovering I loved them all.

I abruptly found what I’d been missing out on.

Vietnam kick-began an obsession with attempting nearby meals, to the point exactly where it is now 1 of my favourite elements of travel.

In reality, I’ve even overcome my worry of strange foods, getting now sampled kangaroo in Australia, cockroaches in Laos, crickets in Thailand, lizard in Vietnam, and brain tacos in Mexico!

Lauren paddleboarding in Abel Tasman, New Zealand
Paddleboarding in Abel Tasman, New Zealand

I discovered leaving your comfort zone is the Ideal point you can do

It didn’t take extended soon after leaving for me to learn that picking to stay inside my pea-sized comfort zone had been holding me back in life. Luckily, travel is all about leaving your comfort zone, normally on an hourly basis!

There have been numerous, numerous items that intimidated me when I began travelling, but I was performing so alone and didn’t have anyone to rely on except myself. There was no escape.

Repeatedly leaving my comfort zone introduced me to new experiences – numerous of which ended up getting the highlight of my travels.

Finding out to surf in Bali. Camping overnight in the Sahara Desert. Riding in a hot air balloon more than Lake Bled. Accepting a stranger’s type give to show me about Taiwan.

Lauren in the Sahara Desert, Morocco
Lauren in the Sahara Desert, Morocco

I stopped worrying every thing was going to go incorrect

Anxiousness is all about irrational believed processes, numerous of which revolve about panicking that every thing is going to outcome in your death.

Travel helped me cease worrying that every thing was going to finish in disaster due to the fact every thing I did very normally did.

I would leave my hostel for the bus station with a sinking feeling that I wouldn’t be in a position to locate the bus I’d have to have and it would leave with no me.

Guess what? It occurred.

And when it did, I spoke to an attendant and he changed my ticket for me and told me exactly where to wait for the subsequent bus.

At times I’d be concerned about having lost, would finish up in the middle of nowhere, and then hail a taxi to take me back to my hostel. Or applied a cached map on my telephone to navigate. Or wandered about till I located a landmark I recognised.

At times, even though, a thing would take place that was even worse than the point I’d been worrying about.

I believed I would struggle to locate a thing to consume in Shanghai, but ended up having scammed rather.

I was worried I may well get lost in Phuket, but got caught up in a tsunami rather. I was picturing not creating buddies on my boat trip in Laos, but ended up getting to watch a lady die from malaria.

I only necessary to expertise these travel disasters a couple of occasions prior to I began to realise it was pointless worrying about what may well take place.

Since in some cases the worse case situation seriously does take place. And when it does, you will take a deep breath and figure it out. It is pretty much under no circumstances as negative as you consider it’ll be. You are extra than capable of dealing with it.

Lauren in Guanajuato, Mexico
Lauren in Guanajuato, Mexico

I gained a big quantity of self-assurance

Provided my struggles with mental well being and my lack of expertise, you will not be shocked to hear the pre-travel version of me wasn’t the most confident of folks.

I was quiet and shy, preferring to hide from the limelight than let myself shine.

Conquering my anxiousness produced me really feel like I could do something I place my thoughts to.

Possessing items go incorrect on the road showed me I was extra capable than I’d believed.

Meeting new folks in hostels each day helped me hone my social capabilities.

Attempting new items and falling in enjoy with them convinced me to push my boundaries as normally as I can.

All of this combined led to a newfound self-assurance when it came to travel, folks, and navigating the planet.

Lauren in Bagan, Myanmar
Lauren in Bagan, Myanmar

I located my independence

I under no circumstances believed I’d be genuinely independent.

I believed I was as well broken to ever rely only on myself. I was the form of girl who jumped from extended-term connection to extended-term connection with barely a month among.

Travelling solo was all about acquiring the independence I’d usually craved. It was about acquiring out who I was as a individual, what I liked, and what I didn’t. It was about finding out how to make choices with no getting any one else to rely on.

It was about getting selfish.

Regardless of now travelling with my boyfriend, I attempt to commit a minimum of two months of each year travelling solo. I enjoy the independence and freedom it provides me.

Lauren on Koh Nok, in Thailand
Lauren on Koh Nok, in Thailand

When I left to travel, I was a nervous, shy girl with no life expertise and zero popular sense. I had no sense of self-worth, no self-assurance, and didn’t know how to make buddies. I had panic attacks each couple of hours. I was scared of something with flavour.

Everybody believed I was crazy for leaving no one anticipated me to final.

Now, as I create this post in my guesthouse in Cambodia, I’ve been travelling for 4 years and counting. I’ve visited 60 nations across 5 continents. Anxiousness no longer guidelines my life. I’ve fallen in enjoy with meals. I now seek out new and difficult experiences due to the fact I know that stepping out of my comfort zone will enable me turn into a improved individual.

I barely recognize the individual I applied to be. Travel changed my life.

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How has travel changed your life?