July 23, 2017

Confession: I Am a Travel Chicken

Sometimes I feel like such a fraud.

Often, while traveling solo, I’ll meet someone–usually a group of women traveling together–and we’ll exchange travel stories.

“Are you traveling by yourself?” they’ll ask me.

I’ll smile. “Uh-huh.”

“You’re so brave!” they’ll exclaim.

No, not really. I’m not brave. Not at all. I have ample experiences that say the opposite. Like the time I chickened out of snorkeling in the Virgin Islands because I’m afraid of deep water. Or the time I chickened out of driving around the Scottish Highlands because I was scared I’d end up on the wrong right side of the road. Or the time I visited the top of Seattle’s Space Needle and was terrified the entire thing would topple over if I stood too close to the edge. I have a fear of flying and let’s not even get into my overactive imagination about all the things that could possibly happen to me as I travel by myself.

So, no, I’m not brave. I am, in fact, a travel chicken.

Even after having traveled solo for years, I still feel that small twinge of fear every time I set out on my own. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the first step to getting over your solo travel fear is taking a first step. If you’re anything like me, you’ve already done all the research. Now it’s your turn to make a move. 

Book that flight. Buy that train ticket. Reserve that room. Do one thing to get the ball rolling and before you know it, you’ll be striking out on your own. As philosopher Lao-tzu so aptly stated, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

What are you waiting for?

Are you a travel chicken too? What’s the one thing that scares you most about solo travel?

7 Responses to Confession: I Am a Travel Chicken

  1. I agree with the approach of taking it one step at a time. It can get overwhelming, especially when lots of destinations in the itinerary or if going to off the beaten path places. For me, chicken is flying. And I have been doing it on a very regular basis for about 20 yrs (including business trips). The more I fly, the older I get, the more chicken I think this traveler gets!!

    • Marsha says:

      Raul–it really does boil down to putting one foot in front of the other (and not thinking about it too much!). Glad to see someone else is as afraid of flying as I am. Makes me feel a bit more normal! 🙂

  2. I do not think you are a chicken. You are traveling solo successfully. There are many people that would rather stay at home because they are too scared to travel by themselves.

    On my recent trip to Ireland I decided not to rent a car and drive. I did this because I spend a lot of time driving at home and I did not want to drive the on the other side of the road. It is also nice to take a bus or train and enjoy the scenery.

    • Marsha says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jeff, but I’m a pretty big scaredy cat with an overactive imagination, lol! It’s just that the wanderlust is much stronger than the fear. 🙂

  3. Matthew Cheyne says:

    I must admit that I too feel like a chicken sometimes. When I first went to Sydney back in 2001, it was my first ever solo trip and I was shaking like a leave the entire train trip up from Melbourne. I had no accommodation booked for when I arrived in Sydney and had to arrange everything on the fly. But it all turned out well to be an excilirating experience.

    Nowadays the only time I feel chicken is when I’m in a plane and it’s taking off down the runaway. There’s that small moment in time when the plane changes angle as it leaves the ground to take off into the air. That’s when I feel a little concerned. But it’s only for a tiny moment and then I love the rest of the flying time that’s ahead of me.

    • Marsha says:

      Matt–Twinsies! Except during my first solo trip, I definitely booked lodging in advance. And lol, I too hate the vacuum effect at take off–my single least favorite part of the flight–but landing in a new place is always AMAZING!

      • Matthew Cheyne says:

        You can’t replicate that feeling of landing in a new place for the first time. That feeling of exciliration of adventure is totally unique to travel and solo travel in particular. No drug can take its place, no words can truly describe it and no other feeling can compare.