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What You’re Missing When You Let Fear Dictate Your Travel Plans

What You’re Missing When You Let Fear Dictate Your Travel Plans

A lot of people aren’t good at calculating risk, especially when it comes to travel. Common travel fears include flying, shark attacks, and issues surrounding food and cleanliness. Some people even allow their day to day fears to influence their travel plans, however irrational and seemingly mundane they may be.

Whenever unrest crops up somewhere around the world and travel advisories go up, trips are frantically canceled. These fear-based cancellations can sometimes come at a huge financial loss. Realistically, a country that just underwent a traumatic event is going to be more vigilant when it comes to danger, and will be, for the time being, even safer.

There are many personal benefits to be gained from travel experiences; benefits that could seriously affect your chances for success and overall happiness in life. Here’s what you could be missing if you let fear dictate your travel plans.

Greatly expands your comfort zone

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travel fears- a new perspective

    Mitigating new experiences when traveling by hiding yourself in a resort or only participating in activities that include things you’re familiar with robs you of one of travel’s greatest gifts, personal growth. Your life is the total of all of your experiences. And, not just the ones you are comfortable with. Challenging yourself by trying new things pushes you to adapt and ultimately grow as a person.

    Travel consistently and naturally exposes us to unfamiliar situations. When you try to limit or avoid that exposure you’re missing out on expanding your comfort zone and the personal growth that comes from doing that.

    Understanding our world better

    “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

    Do you believe everything you see in the media? Travel helps us realize how little we really know about the world. There’s a big difference in the concept of what we believe to be true and the experience of knowing something is true because we’ve seen or done it.

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    Travel gives us the opportunity to form our own opinions about a place. Our perspective can end up being very different from what we had been taught in school or learned from the media. Travel provides us with opportunities to learn the truth about places, obliterating ignorance, and giving us a better understanding of our world.

    Really experiencing a destination

    Paris- travel fears

      I think if you haven’t tried local cuisine, talked with local people, or made an effort to conform or respect local customs you haven’t really experienced that place. How can you say you’ve “been somewhere” if eat the same food and do the same things you do back home.

      You need to do as the locals do to get a true feeling of a place. Learn some language, mix with locals, ask questions and try the things they love.

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      Learning the things you didn’t know about yourself

      The more we learn, the more we experience, the more things we see and do, the more we learn about ourselves. Do any of us really know what we’re capable of? How can we, if we don’t expose ourselves to new things? My Mom always said, “You won’t know if like it unless you try it”. This isn’t just true about Brussels sprouts, it’s valid for everything in life.

      Trying new things helps us learn important things about ourselves. It exposes us to things we would never have known we’d love, had we not left our home. Eat the food, learn the local dance moves, try the favorite pastime. You just might learn something amazing about yourself.

      Numerous opportunities to build confidence and improve self-esteem

      motivation- travel fears

        “Do one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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        This is a systematic way to build confidence. When you apply this kind of thinking to travel the results can be amplified. You can face so many unusual challenges when you travel. Once in awhile, when you travel, take the road less traveled. Seek the unexpected and see how strong you can be.

        The fact is if you want to improve your confidence, change your outlook, or do any kind of growing as a human being you need to be willing to be uncomfortable because you will be. Facing fears and trying new things , especially those things that are a bit outside your comfort zone, are two of the best ways to bolster self-esteem. Travel is fraught with opportunities to tackle things like these.

        Confidence comes from knowing you can rely on yourself to solve problems or deal with different situations effectively. You build confidence like you build muscles in your body, you have to give it a workout from time to time.

        Positive change, like many aspects of travel, is often a hard and a bit scary. Here are a few key ways you can avoid letting your travel fears get the best of your trip.

        • Go out and do something different from your usual travel choices (even if it’s only one time). Contact tourism boards for recommendations: what the destination is known for or what cultural events are happening in the area while you’re visiting.
        • Do your own research before you travel, ask questions in forums, visit expat sites to look for information outside news media and friend’s opinions.
        • Choose things that help you meet locals – try to glimpse the place you’re visiting through their eyes
        • Push the limits on your preferences. Do as the locals do – try the dance, try the local pastime, try the favorite dish even if you first believe “you won’t really like it”.

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        Last Updated on August 20, 2019

        Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

        Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

        Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

        This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

        The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

        Curiosity

        Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

        People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

        Patience

        Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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        When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

        Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

        A Feeling for Connectedness

        This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

        A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

        The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

        With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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        1. Research

        Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

        Learning the Basics

        Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

        Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

        What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

        Hitting the Books

        Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

        Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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        Long-Term Reference

        While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

        My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

        2. Practice

        Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

        A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

        Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

        3. Network

        One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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        These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

        Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

        4. Schedule

        For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

        Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

        Final Thoughts

        In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

        If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

        At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

        More About Self-Learning

        Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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