There are so many opportunities to conquer your fears when you’re traveling. With different surroundings than you’re used to, your freedom to try new things is endless. Traveling comes hand and hand with new adventures. It forces you to self reflect and face your fears because there are new daring and adventurous activities that are specific to the region you’re traveling in.
Yes, facing fears in foreign countries can certainly be more terrifying than facing them in your home country. Many tourists find their safety to be at risk when doing things out of their comfort zones. However, the thrill of conquering them in an exotic location makes the adventure that much more memorable. Today, more than ever before, we really do have the world at our fingertips. All of the resources we need in order to have a safe yet daredevil-like adventure are available to us, so GO FOR IT.
There is only one Eiffel Tower in the entire world, so why not climb it? One of the most common fears is of heights, yet thousands of people every day climb the Eiffel Tower to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful country of France. The London Eye location in the heart of London, is another popular attraction amongst tourists, because you can get a great view of the country of England.
Adventurous excursions for tourists are also great opportunities for facing fears. Most countries take advantage of their unique landscapes and have different activities for tourists to try. Many of these excursions specific to each country’s unique surrounding end up pushing tourists’ fears to the limit.
Costa Rica is home of the world’s highest zip line. The zip line spans over two miles, with amazing views of the famous active Arenal Volcano. With lush jungles and ancient volcanoes, Costa Rican adventure companies take advantage of their landscapes to provide tourists with a thrilling way of seeing their beautiful country. Many people are afraid of taking such a leap of faith in a foreign country. But if tourists conquer their fears while traveling, it makes the overall experience that much more memorable.
Tam Le, an architectural engineering major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, traveled around all of Europe through a Cal Poly study abroad program. She traveled to dozens of countries alongside other architectural engineering students. She also took many day trips to different countries by herself and took advantage of her time in Europe. Along her year long exploration, Le went to Morocco. She said, “The culture of Morocco was remarkable. It’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever seen; the architecture is remarkable.”
However, not all moments of the journey were fantastic. Le said, “I will never forget the moment I thought I was going to die.” While in Morocco, Le was in a taxi car driving through the beginning of a tsunami, and had to cross a flooded river in the car in order to not drown. “My adrenaline has truly never been so high.” This experience enhanced Le’s trip because it made her appreciate everything else that much more.
Shayne Jarrett, a Cal Poly Child Development Major, had a similar experience while also studying abroad in Thailand this past summer.
Jarrett decided to expose herself to a completely different experience than she’s normally used to. She is from London, England, so she grew up traveling around Europe with her parents. Going to Asia was completely different for her because she’s so used to the European and American lifestyle. “I did have a very scary experience, though, in Koh Tao.” On their last night on the island, Jarrett and her friends got lost on the beach because the weather was stormy. The tide “crept up” on them, and they almost got swept away. “It was insane. I thought that I was going to die from drowning in the ocean,” said Jarrett.
This experience made Jarrett realize that she personally doesn’t like to push her boundaries to the fullest. She said she was doing things throughout her trip that were outside her comfort zone, but that this experience made her realize that risking her life is not something she ever wants to do again. “It made me notice that I personally don’t like to push my boundaries to the fullest, risking my entire life for just one moment. I would rather play it safe.”
Experiences such as these taught Le and Jarrett to be adventurous but to also be smart and try to avoid activities that are at a really high risk. Le says, “When you’re in foreign countries, it is important to see a somewhat low profile and don’t go into a country uneducated, especially in countries that have a completely different culture you aren’t familiar with.” She also said that it is crucial to be aware at all times and keep your cool in emergency situations.
Melissa Becker, a scientist for the Marine Mammal Center in San Francisco, began traveling to exotic locations while she was attending Santa Clara University. She has been to several different destinations through the Marine Mammal Center, many of which she said were very dangerous. These dangerous expeditions she’s been on for work make Becker consider herself an expert traveler. Her most dangerous experience, she said, was when she was sent out to do a scientific research study in Greenland.
“I have never felt so endangered.” Becker was out on a research project mission sampling pods of Killer Whales, when an avalanche hit the town next to her and shook the entire slate of ice. “I thought that our campsite was going to go under. It was very scary.”
Becker, being a mother of two, never went on another “arctic adventure” due to her experience in Greenland. She learned that it was not worth it for her to risk her life and her family to go on dangerous trips for scientific exploration. “I conquered my fear of putting myself in a dangerous situation, and that’s all I can ask of myself.”
Below is a map and layout of the most dangerous places Le, Jarrett, Becker, and myself have ever been.
There’s always danger in traveling. Natural disasters such as the ones Le, Jarrett, and Becker experienced, are hard to avoid once they are already happening. Living through these experiences makes you appreciate your life and the rest of your travel experience that much more. Becker says you can look at these types of situations with 2 mentalities: Glass half full, or glass half empty. “Learning about yourself is the best way to come out of a dangerous situation,” says Becker. It’s important to value life and your experiences, even if they are life threatening and dangerous.