When was the last time you did a road trip? Did you do it solo? If you did, I bet you had a few moments where you doubted the whole idea was a good one. Your road trip fears surfaced in spades. Maybe the rental car broke down, or at some point, Google Maps sent you in circles. Or maybe, you forgot your toothpaste, comb and body lotion at home like I did. Yep, I did. Thank goodness for Costco and Target.
I’ve officially embarked on my journey across California and although excited, I have a few worries about the journey. It’s not the first time I’ve traveled solo, nor will it be the last I’m sure. As with any major trip, there are the jitters that show up right before you step foot on the plane, and with each new leg of your journey, a small voice challenges your will as to whether you’re up for it.
In last week’s post, I wrote about the details of my trip and a few tips for planning a road trip. What I didn’t get into was some of the mental and emotional fun that comes along with a road trip of this length and magnitude.
I consider myself a pretty strong person but even I still have some fears that I haven’t conquered. I think most of it stems from not being able to control every small little detail. But, I believe that by acknowledging your fears and making peace with them is the best way to get past them.
My road trip worries:
Safety. With all the gun issues and political drama in the US, safety is a big concern for me. While in San Diego, I walked by a protest with a high police presence. We’ll just say I got my butt outta there ASAP. Being alone also creates a fear of being followed. On any solo trip, I always make sure to stay aware of my surroundings and avoid walking late at night in unfamiliar areas.
Road Rage/Accidents. I consider myself a very good driver but you can’t predict what someone else will do. America has an even more frenetic pace than Canada and I’m worried about getting caught up in someone else’s busyness or texting while driving.
Gaining weight. This may seem trivial but I do have some minor food allergies that could become problematic. As a Canadian, I’m also not used to the larger portion sizes in the US. I’ve tried to counteract this by staying active throughout the trip and shopping for groceries at Costco. I’m hoping I only have to purchase dinners out.
Overspending. When traveling, the temptation is greater to buy food that’s convenient, spend on alcohol, too many activities and takeout coffee. Your stomach growls and next thing you know, you’re in Starbucks with a $15 bill. Ack! Each day, I remind myself that I have a budget and the only meals out should be dinner.
None of these worries will stop me from traveling, but they stay in the back of my mind whirling around like a thought tornado.
How to get psyched for a road trip and crush your fears
It’s all about the affirmations. I’m a firm believer that you can transform your thoughts. Positive affirmations can get you on track and keep you on track for following through on your road trip. Remind yourself that life is made up of experiences and locking yourself in your house will not get you closer to your goals. If you happen to get lost and panic, remember to breathe, calm down, and affirm to yourself that you can find your way.
Simply stating to yourself, ‘I’ve got this,’ or ‘I can do this,‘ works wonders on your mind. It strengthens you and opens your mind to new possibilities.
I’ve had moments while traveling when I was ready to freak out and cry — like that time US Customs pulled me aside in one of those small rooms and made me sweat it out. Ugh. (Long story for another time). How did I keep my cool? I told myself, ‘Just breathe’ and I take a slow breath in and out. Immediately panic subsides, my mind is clear, and I can hone in on the solution for my current situation.
Believe in you. You are an amazing woman and fully capable of doing a road trip on your own. You’re strong, confident, and smart, so of course, you can manage a solo trip. It simply requires some planning and owning the idea that if you don’t do this, you’ll regret it later. I always ask: ‘Will I regret not doing this?’ 99% of the time, the answer is yes.
Challenging yourself equals growth. Think of it – you’re doing something different! Something exciting. I mean, how often do you get to go on a long road trip? A new country, new roads you’ve never travelled, and lots of new people to meet — I can’t think of a better way to get out of the doldrums than that. Think of it as a positive change for you. Sometimes we need journeys away from all our creature comforts to expand our horizons and grow into the next phase of our lives. When in doubt, just go for it. Push past the fear and reaffirm to yourself that growth is necessary for your well-being.
Have a plan. You might be thinking, ugh, plans. But hear me out. I’m a planner by nature, so having at least some of your trip planned removes the fear of where you’re going to lay your head each night. It will also give you daily check-ins and checkpoints so you don’t have a lost feeling weighing you down. Also, it’s great to know when you can next put gas in the rental car. Just sayin’.
Road trips test you. It’s one of those things in life that can reduce you to a puddle of tears if something goes wrong and you’re left stranded somewhere. The key is to remember that you can do it, it won’t kill you, and even though there may be a few tears, the sun always shines again and you’ll be stronger for it.
So get out there, get out of your routine cocoon and do something different. And you know what? You just may laugh a little along the way and discover a whole new side of you.
Do you have tips for psyching yourself up for a road trip? What are your fears about road trips?
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