Earlier this year, as I packed my sister off on a six week trip travelling across southern Africa, I comforted her with a loose piece of advice I am fairly sure I picked up on some television show several years ago.
I’d been searching for the perfect words to ease her mind as she was beginning to stress about the long solo journey and the daunting prospect of a long stretch away from home. I landed on reminding her that the most rewarding things in life often come with the greatest risk. If it’s not scary, it isn’t worth it.
Getting up on stage in front of a huge audience is terrifying but the elation when you step back into the wings afterwards is unparalleled. Likewise, hopping on a plane to a far-off country by yourself is the only way to see some of the most awe-inspiring sights this planet has to offer.
Easy words to say when you are staying in the comfort of your own home, carrying on with your boring everyday life. Also words that came back to haunt me a few short weeks ago as I contemplated booking a very last minute trip to the West coast of America, travelling for the first time completely by myself.
As I felt a rising panic and anxiety when packing my enormous rucksack, my sister repeated those words back to me.
If it isn’t scary it isn’t worth it.
Sure, for many a week away in California would hardly be daunting, rather an incredibly exciting adventure. No doubt it was, but for me this was an extraordinary leap out of my comfort zone into an exciting but nonetheless scary unknown. Getting on an 11 hour flight entirely alone to fly half way across the world to camp across America’s West with a group of strangers seemed like the actions of a person I could only ever dream of being.
Now safely ensconced back in my own bedroom with only my memories – and a few hundred photos – to remember my trip across the Atlantic, I cannot thank my sister enough for reminding me of the advice I had once given to her and for pushing me to become the person I wanted to be.
I have seen some beautiful things, made some wonderful friends and returned with a treasure chest of memories for a life time. All because I stood in the face of my fear and took the risk.
If I had travelled with a friend would I have achieved the same satisfaction? I don’t think so. I conquered fears, climbed mountains (literally) and threw myself into a new adventure I could never have imagined for myself. Was it scary? Hell yes. Was it worth it? 100%
So to all those contemplating travelling alone, but are scared to do it, all I can say is, go for it! Travel with a company like G Adventures, as I did, or go completely solo – whichever works for you. Just remember, if it isn’t scary, it isn’t worth it.