“Courage is not the absence of fear,
but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Some people are nervous about travel. Particularly now, as strange virulent germs threaten our safety and confidence.
I have always loved travelling. Perhaps it comes from a Great Grandparent, who loved to travel. Perhaps it is just me.
I admit to being slightly terrified on my first overseas trip.
It was 1986.
Seated in the airport lounge, I remember being so startled when I heard the boarding call for my flight. In my panic, I knocked a full can of soft drink over my lap!
My destination was Nepal. Not exactly the most elementary of countries for an inexperienced overseas traveller to visit.
Nepal was so very different to home. It wasn’t hugely popular with tourists.
I saw jaw-dropping historic architecture, older than when my country was just a twinkle in the eye of a medieval explorer.
I saw grinding poverty and children afflicted with leprosy. I saw small blind children begging at temples. But I also saw loads of colour and many smiles on the faces of the Nepalese people.
I witnessed religious traditions of blood sacrifices of live goats, their throats cut and the blood turning the dusty ditches red. I saw open-air butchers slaughtering beasts and hanging them on hooks in the street.
A storm hours after our arrival resulted in a stampede at a soccer match killing around 80 people. Kathmandu mourned its dead.
It was confronting for a city girl from Australia. I suffered culture shock the first day or so. I frowned a lot, not from being unhappy, on the contrary, it was from feeling so utterly privileged to live in a first-world country. The contrast of what I now judged to be my luxurious life, was significant, even as one who was only just scraping into a middle-class income level.
I felt guilty about what I had at home when I saw others had so little.
Are you wondering why I chose Nepal as a destination?
I wanted to open my eyes to the world. To see how other people lived. To see something other than a duplication of what I saw on my own home continent.
Courage is not freedom from fear. It is being afraid and still continuing.
Once you have looked fear in the face and have overcome it, you can repeat that again and again and again.
Travel Advice for Nervous First-time Travellers
If it is travel you yearn for, get your mind ready before you leave.
You cannot and most likely will not have the level of control you have at home.
You can expect to be uncomfortable at times, often delayed, bored occasionally and most certainly frustrated.
Things will be different.
That is why we travel.
If you have been lucky enough to travel overseas, what was your first destination?
Were you nervous, surprised or delighted?