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..............Travel Fears & Personal Basics

........... our fear of travel, money, physical ability, lonely & planning

Table of Contents

quick links to main Travel Safety posts

I. Travel Fear:

   A. Are/should you be afraid of traveling?

   B. Have I ever been frightened?

II. Basic Travel Considerations:

   A) Financial ability?: 
   B) Physical Condition: 
   C) Lonely Travelers: 
   D) Planning & Preparation:  



This blog's goal is provide an exhaustive, full, deep resource ... heavily linked to other competent sources for  “solo independent travel’ (SIT) not readily found in one place.

I will also delve into the intricacies of ‘touring’ or ‘cruising’, in fact, an overwhelming amount of this blog’s information is applicable to both. 

Humans travel to other countries for a multitude of reasons: business, medical, political & of course pleasure. Pleasure travel - ‘tourism’, has been an avocation of man for centuries. OTOH,  lines between business, medical ,political travel AND pleasure travel are often mixed. 

        Plato Quote: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”—  


A. Should you fear foreign travel?

Perhaps you are afraid of foreign travel because it seems too scary, expensive, or disruptive. 

For decades I was too afraid to travel very far into Mexico even tho I spent winters within 50 mi of border & regularly visited my Mexican dentist in Agua Prieta..

Marco Polo's 20+ year China travel with his merchant father & uncle was no doubt a profound mix of business, pleasure and service to the Chinese Mongol Emperor, Kublai Khan. We might call it a mix of pleasure & business travel, but I suspect in Marco’s mind it went far beyond both.

Professionals - doctors, lawyers etc— often foreign travel to professional conferences so they can mix work and pleasure. Some cruises are specifically for professionals mixing work & pleasure for tax purposes. They will not be part of my discussion, although a great amount of this blog’s information is applicable to all travel forms 

II. How do I decide to travel?

Now, for whatever the reason, you apparently have decided to investigate the possibility of travel. Don’t be alarmed if your travel thoughts seem vague and too general. 

Some, like myself, never thought of serious foreign travel until my late 50s even though I had been abroad. Others, perhaps yourself, may have always harbored a desire to travel, but never got around to seriously considering where, how or what to see & do.

So let’s explore YOUR pre-foreign travel Personal Basics including the Elephant in the room — “fear of foreign travel.” 

III. Travel Fear: 

 ANECDOTE 1: Mexico City‘s: The Zocalo’s panic attack.

The Zocalo, Mexico City’s main square is now what once was the Aztec’s main ceremonial center,  ancient Tenochtitlan).

Immediately after I had unpacked in my hotel a block off Mexico City's historical Zocalo district, I began my usual walkabout [YT LINK]  this huge historical square.

Almost immediately I was near-paralyzed with raw gut-wrenching fear of paranoia. I almost ran back & jumped in bed, seriously, but, instead, I just kept walking.

It was not my first visit to a foreign developing world city, BUT within a ½ an hour, the fear had melted away almost unnoticed & … never returned again —  anywhere. Go figure.

      ANECDOTE 2: Foreign Travel fears

25 years ago an employee of my Jackson, WY’s Planning Dept. had just returned from many months solo Mexican travel. Curious, I asked, “If she had been afraid.

She responded, “I didn’t feel afraid until I crossed the border back INTO the ”USA.”

 Why was I so afraid in Mexico City? ” Three reasons I think, 

        1) I had disrupted my predictable & contented USA life.
        2) Cultural shock literally. 😀
        3) Main Stream Media’s hyperbolic driven fear of Mexico.

We modern humans have achieved a predictable comfort & safety far beyond even a generation ago. We presume our air conditioning, microwave, iPhones & Netflix.      Why disrupt a good thing?

The thought of disturbing our lifestyles can be unnerving. Travel, by definition, means abandonning our daily life for an almost totally different routine & culture.                 Ironically, that new routine & culture is the attraction for a most travelers.

Watching Audrey Hepburn scoot around Europe in her 1950’s romantic travel movie, “Two for the Road” is infinitely easier than actually doing it.

Other excuses easily arise: too expensive, too lonely by myself, my body’s older, how do I plan it? And, those are just the dangers we can imagine. 

We easily imagine unforeseen, hidden dangers that must surely be lurking in those strange foreign countries. The manipulative American media does a superb job of ratcheting up our fears with anything/everything negative. Such concerns are natural, yet most often way-out-of-proportion to reality. 

After 20 years solo-traveling all over the world in 1st World nations like England -- to -- 3rd World developing, dictatorial, poor nations like Myanmar, I have yet to suffer anything other than minor, easily resolved inconveniences or petty crimes like attempted pickpockets & taxi scams. 

    B. Cause of travel's fear?

Travel fear is usually a product of 1) lack of 'safety' knowledge & experience', AND 2) our natural intellgent prudence.

If you scuba dive without lessons or travel to NE Myanmar now (12/12/23) without military protection, you are a fool, because each is very, very dangerous.

Fear's antidote or solution is knowledge, training & experience

      ANECDOTE:  My scuba diving fear

At 45 I had always been afraid of what seems like scuba diving's absurdity.
But I had bought a large sailboat with accompanying fantasies & scuba diving seemed a necessary part of that experience.

I visited scuba shops, read scuba literature, & then signed up for lessons including an ocean dive which, in sum, left me confident to scuba dive with friends.

                 I had gained the knowledge, training & experience to reduce fear down to a rational prudent level.

My Takeaway Lesson:

     Ignorance & imprudence.        =    paranoia's fear; .... while,           …                            .   knowledge & acquired skills     =    confident, prudent success.

TRAVEL KNOWLEDGE: In Resources > Travel Safety's dropdown menu are 7 posts of my accumulated safe travel 'knowledge' AND my illustrating Anecdotes. They include criminal body risks (harsh & soft), transportation risks & variety of travel scams etc. 

In Resources > Travel Health is (or soon will be) a post of my knowledge & strategies for staying healthy while traveling. 

My Anecdotes are true ... soley mine. Their purpose is two fold: 

     1) give you even more tidbits of travel knowledge, and
     2) add credibility to my advice generally.     It AIN"T made up. 🤣

I hope you read these post & gain your foreign travel confidence

   C. Are Bus Tours & Cruises safe?

IN FACT, tour & cruise companies, SITs youth hostels and modern cell phone technology can make almost all foreign travel easy & safe. 

Tour & cruise companies almost effortlessly take full professional control of you & your experience’s safety. Pack your bag, show up on time at your company’s start point and that’s it. They take care of everything including things you haven’t thought of yet and may never notice.  


                 Remember, we are NOT their first travelers.

SITs (solo, independent travelers): OTOH, traveling solo, we have much more to deal with, but our modern technology makes it incredibly easy — air tickets, hostels, local excursions, restaurants and city navigation —  all at your cell phone & finger tips. 

Often, I would be waiting in a train station en route to my next city while simultaneously booking that night’s hostel accommodation and finding the best ground transportation & route to my hostel. 

25 years ago much of this was done on paper with a landline thru a travel agent, or walking hostel to hostel with guidebook in-hand or “just winging it” with a taxi driver’s self-serving suggestions.    Much more difficult.

    ANECDOTE 1: Taxi driver's can be a boon or a bane

Airport taxis drivers often found me good lodgingSeveral airport or bus station taxi/tuk tuk drivers spent an extra hour showing melodging options based on my requirements. 

Of, course he gets a commission from lodging, but that’s only fair.

    ANECDOTE 2: Siem Reap airport's taxi driver

When I exited Cambodia’s Siem Reap Airport terminal, (think Angkor Wat)  PIK I was immediately approached by a calm, affable & articulate taxi driver who negotiated a fair price into town. 

En route he asked if I had a hotel room. “Not yet”, I said, although I had my researched list. We discussed what I wanted: location in town center, nice clean room, good price. He offered to show me several until I found one I liked. 

1st place was great & I happily stayed for several days … & he got, I am sure, a good kick back from my hotel – – – which he was entitled to. 

During my stay I hired him twice more:    
    1st for a Day Hire to  ‘drive & wait’ temple hop several different temple complexes around Ankor Wat temple.
    2nd,, a 2nd Day Hire trip to a Banteay Srei & Beng Mealea Temple complexes 40 miles NE of Siem Reap. 

                     Maximum flexibility & efficiency.

NOTE: When I hire a taxi/tuk tuk etc for ‘drive & wait’ trip of several hours I either invite him to lunch with me or I buy him lunch. 

    ANECDOTE 3: Iguazu Falls, Brazil-side’s visit

An Iguazu Falls, Argentina hostel clerk’s friend with a car whisked me (without a passport) past his Brazilian border guards friends to Brazil’s side of Iguazu Falls and came back for me at end of my day. 

Please remember my Mission for this blog, in part, is to offer you authentic travel insights including: 

   1) Reasons & Benefits of foreign travel, 

   2) Evaluation of tour & cruise’s Quality Factors, and 

   3) Pros & Cons of tour & cruise’s that make you highly informed.

[pplk: ???????]

II. Basic Travel Considerations:

Let's take a look at some of the REAL BASICs of foreign travel that may have you concerned before dive deeper. 

A. Financial ability?: 

Broke, of modest means or Elon wealthy? “Demand the best?” or is "Clean, inexpensive & safe." OK?

Our 3 Kinds of Travel can accommodate almost any budget as long as you can pay the air fare & a cruise or bus tours all-inclusive price.

                 SIT is the least expensive, greatest bang for your dollar

While the wealthy may fly 1st class or business, I always fly Economy because I will take ½ a doctor prescribed sleeping pill right after the dinner & sleep thru the flight. 

Many young backpackers and I stay in hostels, buy food at public open markets & cook together in hostel's common kitchen & dining area to save money and …. for conversation with usually much younger & interesting folk than I. 

NOTE: Youth Hostels today are NOT just for the young, poor student-traveler, but for all ages & families use hostels word wide. Hotels always seemed cold, impersonal and isolating at a much higher cost.

I always enjoyed looking at the hostel guest register to see if I was the oldest;     not always.

I don’t have to travel on a shoestring as many of my young fellow travelers do, but I do so because IMO it makes my experience more authentic & interesting. However, your choice is all that matters because it is, after all, your life experience. 

Presumably, you have some money squirreled away or something to sell or you would not have read this far. Some I have met had just enough money for air fare to get to a foreign hostel & find work..

B. Physical Condition: 

Are you super fit, good all around health or disabled?

Foreign Travel can accommodate all levels of physical fitness. You may not be powerful enough to hike UP an Alps mountain, but like I, at 76, you might hike DOWN. If you can’t walk far, take the Jungfrau Railway to Jungfraujoch railway station, Europe’s highest. Spectacular views. 

Most cruise ships & some bus tour companies purposely accommodate the seriously handicapped.  PIK Handicapped


I can no longer foreign travel because of prostate cancer’s incontinence & reduced strength, but editing my videos allows me to vicariously re-live my trips.

If you can’t or don’t want to travel you can do the same at my Youtube Channel:   “Scott’s Travels” — GO TO Playlists.

C. Lonely Travelers: 

Do you fear foreign travel will be lonely without a personal friend?

In fact, you may be hard-pressed to find such ‘loneliness’ on a tour or cruise because human interaction is the overwhelming norm. 

Cruise, bus tours and even the SIT traveler’s youth hostel’s experience often requires that you room with others UNLESS you pay an expensive extra ‘single supplement’ surcharge to room alone. 

Even then, a cruise ship’s best dinning, shore excursions and special events put you unavoidably beside others. Big bus tours seat you beside others, communal meals and site visits compel mixing of all. 

Even SIT traveler’s like me take occasional day tours, small cruises & attend hostel activities that force me to mix. Fortunately for me, hostels & day tours offer me an ideal balance of companionship and my prized solitude. In a Chinese crowd of 1000s, I am still ‘alone’.😀

You have to be a raging introvert, probably irascible and loaded down with lots of cash to purposely avoid people when foreign traveling. 😇

D. Planning & Preparation:  

How much complex, time consuming planning is required?

Foreign travel planning and preparation can be simple or pleasurably exhausting. [sub-pil lk. ]  & [YTclip. ] 

Bus Tour & Cruises are extremely easy. Peruse their online offerings for sites, experiences & amenities that fulfill your desires within your time /$ budget and book it.     Pack & arrive on time.

Probably, you must also book your to/from flights AND pre-tour lodging on both ends, if necessary, and get a Passport & necessary vaccines, if any, pack what they tell you to and you are ready to go. 

Remember you're not their first customer, they can solve most pre-trip issues by email & personally once you are in their care.

    ANECDOTE: Sally

I have a good friend who buys a Guidebook, books her flight, starts reading the guidebook during flight, finds lodging when she arrives sometimes late at night & next moring decides what to do each day. She makes friends easily and pairs-up fast. 

                                   Create your own style of travel!


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