Updated: Jan 10
"The first step is the hardest"- Mary Anne de Vichy
Google credits Mary Anne de Vichy with this quote. With apologies to whoever that is, I doubt she was the first to use it. It feels like a saying that's been around in some form since just about the beginning of spoken language.
Solo travel is eye opening, but the thought of a potential solo trip abroad can be intimidating to the first time traveler.
That first step is always the hardest.
No amount of preparation is enough to make the first time comfortable. Whether it's leaving your home country, hitting on a hot girl at the bar, or giving a presentation at work, the first time doing anything that raises your heart rate is difficult. Leaving our comfort zone is necessary for growth, and the end result is often better than we would have imagined. Even after a complete failure, we can take pride in knowing we conquered our fears, and are stronger and more prepared for future endeavors because of it. We rarely regret it after the fact.
Think about it... Were you nervous your first time getting laid? I bet you were. Maybe in that moment you wished you had jerked off earlier in the day in preparation to help you last longer. But when it was over 39 seconds later, did you regret it? Unless her husband walked in at 38 seconds, I doubt it.
I have few accomplishments in life that I can say I'm proud of, but my first solo international trip is one of them. I went to central Mexico alone, and stayed there for six months. During my stay I taught English, studied Spanish, tested my luck with the local ladies and made lifelong friends.
That first trip that led to a desire to travel the world... almost never happened.
The fear of being away from everything and everyone I knew lingered for weeks before my departure, and caused me to almost cancel the whole thing. I remember almost shaking as I walked toward the plane that day. The natural human desire to pursue comfort and stability did it's best to convince me I could still turn around every step of the way.
Maybe if I just studied Spanish for a few more months... Maybe if I spent some time chatting to local girls online somehow first to build connections... Then I'd be ready. Then it would be easier...
Fuck that. That trip should have happened years sooner.
Wait till you're ready, and you'll be waiting forever.
The trip was great. After the initial discomfort, I gained confidence and eventually enjoyed myself there. I ended up returning, and staying much longer than the initial six months.
The fear of that first step... was worse than the step itself.
If you do something crazy and difficult enough times, after a while... it isn't so crazy and difficult anymore. Granted, no matter how many presentations you give or solo trips you take, they will never be as easy as sleeping the day away on the couch in your fathers basement. They will eventually get easier... because YOU get more confident.
But the very first step... is always the hardest.
So do it. Take that solo trip. Try public speaking. Quit your job and start that business you've been thinking about. Go hit on that hot girl at the bar who's probably way out of your league. You might just benefit from it.
And if you don't want my advice... Well, maybe it's for the better...
After all, I'm writing this from the couch in my fathers basement.
Ryan is an international traveler and writer who blogs about his life, travels, and experiences exploring the world. He runs a blog called Curious Gringo , where he drops content on a regular basis. His content is humorous, honest, and offers a fresh perspective on life, travel, single life, and more. Check it out and subscribe: https://curiousgringo.com/.