Traveling Abroad While Shy - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Traveling Abroad While Shy


Does anyone else have a passion for traveling despite having a social phobia or extreme shyness (which was kind of redundant given the nature of this forum)? I've been to many different countries, some of which traveling by myself, but can't seem to be able to talk to people there either. I'm not afraid of being in a foreign country and love to experience new places and cultures, but I think that if I was more sociable I would get a lot more out of traveling. For instance, I participated in a study abroad in Kenya where a group of about 24 students and 4 professors camped out in various locations for a month, to study primate behavior. The lions roaring at night or insane carnivorous ants or being away from my family in the middle of nowhere didn't frighten me. What scared me most was having to socialize with the other people, something that turned into a abysmal failure. At our nightly dinners around the campfire, I would be the only one not conversing with someone else, or forming a lasting friendship. Any other travel stories, either positive or negative?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 09:58 AM
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I can related to that. I would also be the person sitting off by myself not talking to anyone, wondering how everyone else managed to socialize. I would think, how in the world did I manage to make it here while other people who are much more outgoing and sociable would be afraid to visit a foreign country...if I can do that, I should be able to manage having a conversation with someone!

I still feel unhappy when I think about the time my Spanish teacher in Buenos Aires pulled me aside and said, "Why do you not talk to anyone? You just sit type type type on your computer. " I was so mortified I think I just smiled and said "I don't know..." then he just walked away. Learning another language is pretty difficult when you are already too afraid to speak to people in your native language! I know my experience would have been much more memorable if I could have managed to connect with others in the class. I thought playing a pick up game of soccer in Argentina would be a dream come true...but I chickened out and bailed on a game I had heard about.

You've already accomplished a lot that others with SA would have trouble with, I still do not have the courage to travel alone. I do not have any advice but I think if we just keep up trying to overcome SA through CBT or whatever method helps, we'll get to a point where we will finally make those connections. But keep in mind, even if you don't talk to anyone outside the hostel clerk...its still possible to have a rewarding time just people watching and sight seeing.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 11:34 AM
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I can relate to this. I've gone over to the US by myself before which some people I know would be too scared to do alone, yet they have full, sociable lives. I went on group holidays so I met other people, yet due to my anxiety didn't get very close to anyone, whereas other people in the group did. I'm contemplating doing a working holiday visa in Canada, Australia or New Zealand. The idea both thrill and terrifies me. It could turn out great, but when I've tried to do draing things before, it often back fires because my anxiety is so high and my social skills so low! But I'll keep trying.

Happy travelling
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 11:51 AM
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Well, firstly, I love travelling. But I am shy, terribly shy and the idea of having to socialise with people, and especially if I'll have to speak a language that I don't know too well, still frightens me.

After having lost many opportunities because of my shyness and anxiety, I realised that the only way to fulfill my need of travelling is to challenge myself. Soooo, last year I had chance - my friend, who lives abroad, offered me to stay with her family during my holidays. My first reaction was"oh no, that's impossible, I don't know them at all and I'll probably diebe dead before our plain lands, just of stress" but, no matter how impossible it seems, I did that. Knowing myself, I can't believe how good it went.

And so my another challenge is to travel alone. I think it would still be in Europe, nothing too extreme and not too far for the first time - and my goal is to enjoy myself there, with making new contacts or without.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 12:19 PM
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I really want to travel abroad so badly. I have money saved up and hopefully will get free time from work in the near future. The main concern is my anxiety and fear of traveling alone. I've always been coddled and traveled before when I was younger with my family. Traveling alone is extremely frightening to me.

One of my goals before I die is to travel abroad alone. For many people, its a walk in the park. To me, its a very big deal and would be a major accomplishment where I could probably actually die happy by doing it.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 12:25 PM
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This is me 100%

Sometimes my desire to visit these places overrides my anxiety, and there have been times where I have felt more comfortable in some foreign than in my own home town, but this is not guaranteed. Travel is my passion, and I would recommend doing everything in your power to fight any irrational doubts that hold you back and get out there!!!

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 12:56 PM
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One of my goals before I die is to travel abroad alone. For many people, its a walk in the park. To me, its a very big deal and would be a major accomplishment where I could probably actually die happy by doing it.
Yes, agreed! I somehow feel if I could pull that off, not get frighteningly lost/kidnapped/some other irrational fear that my SA makes seem real or spend the entire time hiding in a hotel room...then I will have finally beat this beast once & for all.
Maybe I will start saving $$ and work on getting over my SA, by that point I could have enough for around the world trip!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 01:06 PM
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I guess the funny thing is that I actually have very little fear about getting robbed, kidnapped, murdered, etc, anything unpleasant happening to me while traveling abroad. Safety is not the problem. Its hardly even on my radar of why not to travel abroad.

Its just that fear of being in a foreign place all alone, especially if English is not common in that country. I'd worry about things like getting lost,

Perhaps if I ever do travel alone, I'll start off by going to a predominantly English speaking country like New Zealand, Australia, the U.K, etc. and go further from there. :/

The problem is that I am such an isolationist in my own home. So it seems very strange for my desire to even leave the country and travel abroad. I'd actually worry about getting bored because I am an extremely boring person. All I like to do is sit on the computer or TV, haha. I'd hate to spend so much time and money in a far away country and find myself with nothing to do. I'd probably do the standard, boring things like go to some restaurants, shops, tourist attractions, etc. I am jealous of those who do more interesting things like climbing a mountain in a remote part of the world, etc.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 09:14 PM
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I absolutely love traveling, if I could afford it, I'd certainly do it more often. It's a huge passion of mine but yeah, I totally understand the conflict of loving traveling and having social anxiety. I had to stay with some family friends while going abroad and trying to socialize with some of them was just very weird because we were just such different personalities. It's not that it was cultural or language barriers, he was just way much of a partier than I was and always wanted to go out to clubs, and I kind of just wanted to explore the city and learn about the culture.

I just felt like I was really boring and he didn't like me so much. Kind of sucks dwelling on what other people may be thinking of you but that was just one of the more negative experiences... otherwise, I absolutely loved going around the world.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 10:38 PM
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Yeah, it's something in my cards due to the relationship that I'm in. I think we maybe a couple that travels a little bit, I have thought about becoming a pilot before but I don't think that will happen due to my eyesight been pretty bad. It does help to read this thread though I'm not so worried about the flight as much as I am sitting next to someone and having to chat.

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