Cold Feet While Traveling: Have You Had It?

Bozeman Montana Mountains

I am currently in Bozeman, Montana visiting a friend and then I will be heading to Yellowstone National Park in order to go hiking and see some wildlife—it’s been a few years since I was last there, so it should be an interesting experience in comparison to the one I had when I was a teenager. (Think of very large headphones and a lot of eye rolling as we watched Old Faithful erupt.)

It was funny, though, I experienced a bit of cold feet before I was about to head down. I had spent the night with another friend in Missoula to see a Paul McCartney concert (he’s still rocking the tight pants, if you were wondering), and I was hesitant about heading out on the road again.

This is a minor instance of traveling with cold feet, but it’s not the first time I’ve experienced it. Before I left my hometown to study abroad in Venice for a semester three years ago, I could not stop crying and having second thoughts. Three months away from the people I loved in a new environment as a nineteen year old seemed too overwhelming—and it wasn’t as though I could simply drive home and fall into the comforting arms of my parents when something went wrong.

I think having a bit of cold feet before you travel is surprisingly common; just a quick Google search will bring up forums and tips for travelers feeling this way. Along with the excitement and butterflies of traveling to a new place also comes the acknowledgment that you will be away from everything comforting and familiar. You are purposefully yanking yourself away from what you have established as “safe.”

Having this small bout of cold feet syndrome just before I left for Bozeman reminded me that you never really get over that feeling. Though I no longer lay on the kitchen floor sobbing when I’m about to embark on a big trip (yes, that did happen), I always have a moment of hesitation—I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and with that act I am separating myself from what is known.

It makes it all the more crucial to head out and to curb those fears. Acknowledging that they are there is important, but letting them overtake you can ruin some wonderful experiences. I am pleased that all it took for me to get over this spell was to turn up the radio and sing along to my favorite songs.

Have you ever experienced cold feet before a big trip?

Image courtesy of Edward Blake.

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