Are you afraid to travel? It’s not always safe at home, either!

Are you sometimes afraid to travel? I’ve talked about my travel anxiety and pre-trip nerves before but earlier this year I had such a big reminder of why getting over those fears is not only important but utterly sensible.

Are  you afraid to travel abroad with your kids?

 

I admit: I was afraid to travel with my son to Penang

Travelling alone with my young son is something I’ve done a few times now and although it’s not ideal in every way, it’s certainly not as stressful as I’d once thought it might be. It definitely helps that he’s a generally easy-going kid (although he can be anxious … hmm, where did he get that from?!) and he loves to travel (oh, and where did he get that from?!). Just the same, taking him to Penang earlier this year was a bit different to previous trips with him: this was the first time taking him somewhere I’d never been, and the first time to take him to Asia as well. This led to a few concerns in my mind – safety, for example, as traffic could be a bit crazier than other places we’d been to; food for another, and perhaps a higher chance of him getting sick from eating something dodgy (although I knew that Penang was pretty good in this regard, but still …).

Crossing the road in Penang

Our hotel was in what can best be described as “suburban Penang” and it was situated on the beach side of the main road across the north of the island. On the other side of this road was everything else. It had three lanes going each way, and although we were close to traffic lights, they weren’t set up for pedestrians so there was always traffic coming from somewhere. Not a patch on the endless waves of motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City of course, but still to a slightly anxious mother of a three-year-old boy, it was a bit daunting when we first set up to walk to the shops. Guess what? We got the hang of it, we didn’t get run over, and by the third or fourth day I wasn’t even worried by it. I know this happens every time. I just sometimes wish I could fast forward until the anxiety disappears! And you know what else? I have a feeling I’ve got more chance of getting us hit by a bus at home, where I don’t pay as much attention because everything’s familiar.

 

Are you afraid to travel?

 

Who’s getting sick? Not us!

We ate well in Penang. Oh yes, we ate VERY well, and I have my dear local-but-moved-to-Perth friend to thank for taking us around Penang and showing us all the amazing foods that exist there.  (Except for one amazing recommendation which came from Erin at Travel With Bender. OMG! Best butter chicken in the universe!)

But I digress. (Deliciously, though). Anyway, in spite of eating far and wide with only a modicum of sensibleness, who do you think came down with a case of gastro? My husband, back home in Perth! And one of my best friends and her two kids, back in Perth! And my son and I? Tip-top health the whole trip.

Why do we expect bad stuff to happen to us abroad?

It’s a weird thing, but I know I’m not alone in worrying more about “something bad” happening to us when we travel, the kind of worry I don’t usually have in my everyday life back home. I think often it’s just the effect of doing something different and new, or at least not part of normal daily life. Even flying worries me, even though I intellectually understand that driving through my home town en route to the airport is actually statistically far more dangerous than the flight. (Unless you are my luggage.) But the big lesson I learn (and keep learning every single time I travel) is that bad things can happen to you at home AND abroad. As long as you’re not doing insanely stupid things (which is not my way) then you really should just stop worrying. So while I still feel a little afraid to travel, especially with my young son or to somewhere really unknown to me, I know that the fears are usually totally unnecessary and that above all, I always LOVE travelling once I’m doing it. Which is why I keep doing it.

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