If you met me, I daresay you would probably think I was quite an outgoing person. A doer rather than a sayer. While that is what I appear to be on the outside, personally I think quite the opposite.
I’m a rather shy and introverted person around people that I don’t know. All the same “What If’s” come flooding back each time. “What if I say something stupid”, “What if I can’t do this”.
I don’t think I’m alone here, many people probably suffer from these so called ‘social anxieties’.
Recently I’d been placed on a Team Leader course at work. If it hadn’t been for my colleague joining me on the trip to York, I might not have gone at all. I’d have been lost in an unfamiliar city, but within myself too. I’ve always struggled with believing in myself. I often second guess myself and never believe that the answer I have is even the correct one. I tend to just keep my head down and hope that a question never comes my way.
Trains are one of my biggest fears in all honesty. I am not at all confident when it comes to getting them. I always think I’ll be waiting on the wrong platform and go in the opposite direction, only to not realise until it’s too late and I’m lost. A few years back I visited Frankfurt with some friends, we arrived at the train station, located which platform we needed, the time the train was departing and all the standard information you need for boarding a train, yet here we were 15 minutes later, jumping off and having to head back to Frankfurt because we’d gotten the wrong one. My worst fear came to life. Had it not been for my friends, I think I’d have been freaking out.
“But wait”, I hear you ask. “This is a travel blog. Why are you writing about social anxiety?” Well that’s a good question and we’ll get to that part now.
My aim through travelling is to mainly improve my confidence with using public transport. Fortunately, I’ll be spending these 15 months with my girlfriend, Emilly holding my hand the entire time. She is absolutely wonderful when it comes to planes, trains and automobiles. Like some kind of Transport radar. We’ll call it a Transdar… or maybe not. Over these 15 months we will be using all kinds of transport to get around Scandinavia and Europe and I’ll be using Emilly as a kind of fall-back. I aim to take the lead with some of the organising of travel and getting us from A to B and I hope that this will increase my confidence so much so that I can travel alone some days and be confident that I’ll return home. It’s my hope that travelling will force me to step out of my comfort zone, taking more risks and becoming more versatile to any situation.
But conquering fears isn’t all I want to learn while travelling. Over these 15 months I will be experiencing tonnes of different cultures and traditions and I plan to immerse myself in them all. Whether it be hunting and foraging for food, ice swimming or teaching English to children. I will be a bigger Yes man than Jim Carrey.
I’d love to learn the speak another language fluently. I’m somewhat a typical Brit in the sense that I failed to learn a language at a young age and just use the fact that the “whole world speaks English” as an excuse to not bother. My grasp of other languages is pretty much limited to asking for a beer and saying thanks. Also my favourite German saying “Das ist mein bahn hof.” Go ahead Google it.
So, during our travels, Emilly and I will be using HelpX and Couch Surfing to get around. So, we’ll be staying with families, on farms or in hostels for the duration, with people from all over the world, speaking many different languages. This is one reason why I feel that learning a new language to be essential.
Of course, I hope that throughout this journey that I remain the same grounded, level-headed, open-minded, humble person that I am, only more improved.
Let me know in the comments what your biggest fears were/are and how you conquered/plan to conquer them.
Big love and a travelling hug.