In recent news, you will have probably heard of the solo female traveller in New Zealand, one of the safest countries in the world to travel around as a solo female traveller, whose disappearance has been treated as murder.
It’s a parents nightmare, and something many people feel concerned about when they hear someone they love is going to backpack around the world.
The main reason for this is psychological. We all have a need for certainty, meaning we need to know we and those we love are safe. As a child, we form attachments with our caregivers and form an attachment style that explains how we manage when our caregiver is not present. Similar to dogs, some dogs can sit patiently until their owner reappears with confidence that they will soon return whilst other dogs will tear up cushions, bark, and scratch at the door through fear of abandonment.
This all comes down to our ability to cope with uncertainty, and when someone you love tells you they are going to travel the world – particularly if they are going alone – the core challenge is that they now have no certainty as to your safety.
It’s not that people want to restrict you, or dampen your fun, it’s that they are concerned.
Yet, we’ve all been in a situation where our parents tell us to “watch out” and look out for suspicious people that try to win our trust… when they’re on the other side of the world, not realising, that actually, Myanmar is one of the safest and most tranquil places to travel in the world.
Or, perhaps your parents hear stories about how dangerous somewhere like Turkey is, yet the reality is that when you leave your mobile phone at a restaurant, the restaurant owner tracks you down to return your phone with a smile in his heart and no expectation of any reward other than the feeling of doing the right thing.
The challenge, therefore, is not about where you are in the world, it’s about dealing with the uncertainty – as when we are uncertain our imagine plays tricks on us. We start worrying irrationally and perceive even the most minor of things as a risk and reason to feel stressed.
The antidote, therefore, is to provide the people you care about with plenty of “certainty” when it comes to keeping in contact with you, knowing your plans, and reassuring them that you are alright. In this sense, it can help to look at AT&T wireless plans to ensure you are able to keep in touch with your loved ones, without breaking the bank.
That said, today, with Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp and Facebook there’s no reason not to be in contact with your loved ones. Interestingly, the title of this article is all about staying safe on your travels, yet safety is nothing more than perception. You never truly know how safe you are, in a world where random attacks of terror and major disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis happen you can never guarantee your safety. Therefore, what we must focus on if our desire is to help those we love to feel more comfortable when we are travelling is to help them meet their emotional need for a sense of security and certainty… which could be as simple as checking in each day, to let them know that you are alright, where you are and what you’re up to.