For a moment I felt calm as the elevator whirred in darkness, taking me up to the top of Macau. ‘You’ll be fine, there’s nothing to be afraid of’ I thought to myself. All of a sudden, the neon lights of the casinos and hotels below exploded into view, the dark elevator shaft suddenly turning into a glass tube showing me the city extending to the horizon. It would have been a wonderful view if I wasn’t about to jump off, plunging toward the ground 230 meters below.
This was my first experience of bungee jumping. A Brazilian traveller I’d met named Bruno had told me about it. Now, along with a few other friends, we were making our way to the top of Macau Tower and the world’s highest jump. I slowly shuffled toward the edge of the platform, my legs shaking, and tried to get into the right mindset. What’s the worst that could happen? The attendant smiled and reminded me that no one had ever died doing this before. Comforting. 1…2…3…. And before I knew it the concrete below was rushing toward me.
Everyone has fears and doubts and there is no doubt that you will encounter some of them while travelling. For some it can be the entire point of travelling. We all have different ways of overcoming those fears. For me, it was quiet acceptance that I was about to jump off a building. There was no turning back and there was nothing I could do about it. For another friend that I was there with it meant crouching close to the platform before jumping off. As if a 229 meter drop was better than a 230 meter one. The main thing was that we found a way to overcome our doubts and instead have a thrilling new experience.
Use overcoming fear as a reason to try something new
This goes for all aspects of travel. An adventurous thrill like bungee jumping is an easy example, but it’s also there in smaller moments. Doubting thoughts like ‘I have no one to go with’, ‘I can’t afford it’ or ‘I don’t speak the language’ are all fears to overcome. Travel is one of the best ways to figure out exactly who we are and what makes us tick.
A lot of the time these can be overcome with a ‘just do it’ mindset. No one to go with? Just go anyway. As a result, you will find out if solo travel is for you. Most likely, you will realise what you are capable of by yourself and how resourceful you are. Can’t afford it? Well research cheaper ways to travel. Try hostels and couch surfing for accommodation and take local transport to get around. Sleeping in a dorm with 8 other people or staying on a strangers couch may be daunting but you will overcome those fears and doubts by just doing it. Can’t speak the language? Non-verbal communication might be better anyway.
The point is that you’ll never know if you don’t try. Being away from home and all your friends and family can be the perfect time to push yourself, try new things, and figure out who you are without the pressure of failing in front of people you know. I have no doubt at all that your responses will shock you and you will realise you’re capable of so much more. Get out there and just do it.