How to overcome fear while traveling on the road

There are a few things in life, for which I am deathly afraid of. My blood begins to boil at just the thought of seeing or being involved in one of these things. Here’s  a quick Top 10 list of my fears.

My Top 10 Fears

10. Snakes
9. Cows
8. Horses
7. Goats
6. Anything with antlers
5. Being a passenger in a fast car
4. Bungee jumping
3. Big, long bridges
2. Heights
1. Drowning

Numbers 1-3 really freak my freak and as a traveler there are times you can’t get from A to B without crossing a bridge. In 2005 there was one bridge which I crossed in Brazil. I was going from Rio de Janeiro to Cabo Frio; it was a hot, three-hour bus ride from hell.

We had just turned a corner when I noticed a low bridge in the distance which covered a huge body of water. My first thought was that the bridge is too low, but maybe it’s better because I don’t like heights. I started to get anxious and my travel partner assured me that we would be okay. I kept envisioning the bus careening off the bridge into the water; I thought maybe the bus driver is having a bad day or life and today is his day to stop living and I thought about some crazed passenger seizing the bus and driving it into the huge body of water.

None of this happened – thankfully.

In 2007 I boarded a plane for Vancouver, British Columbia where I met up with an old roommate from Cayman Islands. It was just like old times – two friends reminiscing about the good times on Seven Mile Beach; laughing at silly tales of stealing Vespa’s and riding to Rum Point; drinking too many cocktails and riding our bicycles back home – those were the days.

My friend thought it would be a super idea to rent scooters for the day to scoot all over Vancouver’s lovely streets and parks, I eagerly agreed – even though I had never operated a scooter in my life, maybe it’s like riding a bike, I thought.

After a few spins around the Rent-A-Scooter parking lot, I was confident enough to hit the road. I followed my friends lead onto the busy roads, I felt a little vulnerable – the only protection was my helmet, I wished for a full body suit.

We scooted here and we scooted there. I yelled to my friend to slow down but for her, riding a scooter was like riding a bike – easy. I brought up the tail end when I noticed a King Kong sized bridge up ahead. I thought no waaaaaay! We are not – no, I am not going on that bridge.

I screamed out my friend’s name but she could not hear me – the traffic was increasing as were the transport trucks and the traffic lanes were doubling.

Oh dear me – she is crossing the bridge. Do I chicken out? What do I do? Mommy??? Is it legal to drive a scooter across this bridge? What if my scooter decides to do the funky dance over the railing and into the water? These were the thoughts crossing my mind.

Thankfully – none of the above happened.

Lion’s Gate Bridge – Vancouver, British Columbia

Source: Wikipedia

And me, in the Rent-A-Scooter parking lot, before the bridge.

In the span of three seconds, as I entered that bridge the top three things I’m deathly afraid of soon became a reality.

How do you overcome fear while on the road?

My advice is – Just do it! You won’t regret it.

I didn’t chicken out, I didn’t allow fear to stop me from experiencing the single most frighteningly fantastic event of my life. I did it!

How have you overcome fear while on the road?

Source: Lions Gate Bridge via Wikipedia

About Jennifer Avventura

Canadian Freelance writer living in Sardinia, Italy. A serial expat who lived in Australia, England and Cayman Islands. She eats Nutella with a spoon and hides under the bed during lightning storms. When she's not out running 6k you will find her sitting at the computer - writing her novel and searching for worldwide waitress work.
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15 Responses to How to overcome fear while traveling on the road

  1. I used to have an irrational fear of birds. I could just about cope with them if they were on the ground but used to panic if they flew anywhere near me. This made it quite difficult in pigeon-infested cities like Barcelona and London and seaside towns, like Colwyn Bay where I used to live and be tormented by ginormous seagulls. I’m not entirely sure how I stopped being so scared but something has happened over the last few years and I’m no longer phased by birds. I can now cross a pigeon-filled square and only flinch if a bird seems to be flying directly towards me.

  2. Deri says:

    I discovered a fear of heights in the lift on the outside of the CN Tower in Toronto while visiting there. At the top I desperately tried to wrap my arms around the concrete core, about 50 feet in diameter at that stage. The staff arranged for me and my husband to travel down alone except for the lift operator. He said he wasn’t bothered by my moans and screams.

    I did a climbing course to try to face my fears. Now I can stand near the edge of a cliff if I am securely tied on with 11 mm rope and harness etc. Looks a bit silly on the bedroom balcony though.

  3. I tend to trust drivers when I travel. I figure that they don’t want to die either, which In India can be a leap of faith (to whichever Hindu god is on duty that day). My fears do tend be around wild animals and I just stay clear. I don’t pretend to myself that they’ll find me harmless.

  4. Oh gosh, I can totally relate to your scooter story! Same scenario – while vacationing in New Zealand, a friend suggested we rent scooters & go to a neighboring town. At first I thought he meant 1 scooter, 2 people…no…1 scooter per person. I was sooo scared since I never rode one before. So I practiced in the parking lot, & after feeling a tad more confident, we took off to the neighboring town…the only problem was…we never made it to the town! Halfway there, the wheel of my scooter went over some pebbles, & my bike started to swerve all over the road, & I lost control & wiped out, leaving most of the skin from my arm and knee all over the asphalt! Needless to say, although the situation wasn’t ideal, I did conquer my fear of riding a scooter…and wiping out! Would I do it again? Probably not…but it sure makes for quite a story!

  5. I’m with you on the fear of heights, Jennifer. Long tunnels bother me more than long bridges, as do caves with narrow passages. And fortunately for an Australian I have no problem at all with snakes or spiders.

  6. colonialist says:

    Snakes are greayly misunderstood creatures, but I can accept that people would be scared of them. Goats, cows and horses, though? All very cute, and not at all scary. Roads, with or without bridges, are probably the most dangerous animals on earth, for sure!

    • I agree that goats, cows and horses are cute animals but if they are having a bad day … watch out. Horses and I don’t get along, never have. I’ve tried. They get anxious around me … it’s weird.

  7. piemnew says:

    Will funny to drive your small motorcycle…
    haha..

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