"" Writer's Wanderings: The Fear of Travel

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Fear of Travel

So many people we meet are awed by our daring to travel to so many distant and unusual places. Many are afraid to travel. With that thought, I figured there must be a name for fear of travel and sure enough, it popped right up in my search engine. At first glance I thought it said hobophobia. The fear of traveling hobos? But no, it is actually hodophobia. Who comes up with all these names?

What keeps people from a great travel adventure? Many times it's the fear of not knowing the language of the region. There's an easy way around that. Stay in the tourist areas. Most people in the tourist areas of a country speak enough English to at least be able to get along. Most speak very well. Many restaurants have menus in different languages including English. And if you happen to be in Japan, you can point to the pictures on the menu or the fake food plates in the display case.

Speaking of eating, if you are leery of getting some bad food, the kind that might make you sick, stick to restaurants in hotels or use TripAdvisor to choose your dining spot. There should be some choices on the menu that are more desirable to the palate of one who doesn't like to experiment with new foods. A simple rule to follow is to never eat raw fruits or vegetables in a place where water quality may be a concern. If they are washed in the water they could have contaminates. Cooked foods should be hot. Cold types of food cold. Simple rules that you would follow at home. Also be sure to wipe the bottle of water you purchase before drinking from it especially if it's been in a tub of ice.

Of course one of the greatest impediments to setting out on a travel adventure might be the fear of flying. There are some professionals who can use therapy techniques to help you overcome that but there are still lots of places to go without having to fly or even some clever ways around it. We met a couple recently who cruise to the places they want to go and since there are ports on the East and West coast, they can get from one side of the country to the other with a little ingenuity and a good travel agent.

In this day and age of terrorism I'm sure there are many who will use that excuse not to venture out. Remember that even in our own neighborhoods the potential for danger is present. Keeping inside our homes and not venturing out (I think that's called agoraphobia) is truly not a great option. Using common sense at home for your safety is the best way to cope and is the best advice for when you travel. Don't go out alone at night in places you are not familiar with. Pay attention to your surroundings. Don't leave your hotel door ajar to run to the ice machine. Keep your wallet in your front pocket or money in a security pouch in your waistband. If you have a fear of traveling to some areas of the world, don't. But do enjoy the areas that you feel more secure in exploring.

And then there was the cruise where one of our tablemates cried every night because she couldn't connect with her grandchildren each day. Today she might have been better off since internet connections and wireless phone connections are so much improved. So if you fear not being connected, take heart. We've facetimed with family several times on trips to sing happy birthday to grandkids. It may be a little slow in some places but chances are you will be able to stay connected and post all those great pictures to Facebook.

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