Travel New Zealand alone: Overcome your fear

Learn two techniques you can apply to help overcome your fear of traveling to and in New Zealand alone.

One of the biggest hurdles that holds people back from traveling New Zealand alone or from doing anything remotely challenging in life is fear.

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I know it was one of my hurdles when I first started traveling around the world on my own more than a decade ago.

The thing about fear is that it is all in your mind.

Think about it well... Here you are, contemplating a solo trip to New Zealand, and suddenly you find yourself coming up with all sorts of reasons not to do it: I might get lost, I might get hurt, I might run out of money, I might get mugged, I might get killed and nobody will know, etc. etc.

Where is all this coming from? You are not in New Zealand, nothing has happened yet, but you are already afraid. It is all in your mind and your imagination. And those thoughts have been put there either by yourself (perhaps due to one or more past experiences) or by someone else (as well-intentioned advice).

And the thing is that our brains tend to go so fast from one thought to the next, that we do not have enough time to stop and realize what is going on in our brains. Before you know it, you’ve already made a decision: I’m not going!

We also tend to live in and for the future, while what we should be concentrating on instead is the present moment.

The hazard of living in and for the future is that we are constantly consumed by worrying about events and incidents that may or may not happen, because we generally fear what we don’t know and/or have never experienced.

Throughout the years, I’ve come up with two effective ways to overcome fear:

Lake Wakatipu and Cecil Peak in Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand

Lake Wakatipu and Cecil Peak in Queenstown

  1. Identify what exactly I’m afraid of, paint a picture of the worst-case scenario, educate myself, and then counteract the fear by coming up with solutions to the potential future problem or incident I have identified. And then lay it to rest.
  2. Live in the present moment. Do not think about yesterday. Do not think about tomorrow. Only think about what is going on right at this moment.

Example of using method 1

If you are afraid of getting lost while you are in New Zealand, ask yourself what the worst thing is that could happen to you. This depends, of course, on where you are when you get lost.

If you got lost in the bushes on a mountain, you would have to come up with a different solution than if you got lost in a big city like Auckland.

The bottom line is to figure out what situation you think you may wind up in, i.e., identify the root cause of your fear, and then find solutions.

In the case of getting lost in bush, ensure that you have told someone where you will be going and when you will return, educate yourself about the terrain in which you will be hiking before you set out on your hike, make sure you are carrying enough food and water, that you have rain gear and warm clothes, and that you have a map and a compass.

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In the case of getting lost on the road or in a big city, find a safe spot where there are lots of people and ask somebody for directions. You could also carry a map or rent a car that is equipped with a GPS.

If you get lost at night, find a well-lit gas station, and then study your map for directions. Never ever panic.

Remember that in all cases you may wind up in, the worst thing that could ever happen to you is that you lost your life. So take precautions for that not to happen and the rest will automatically take care of itself – I speak from experience.

Example of using method 2

Decide that you want to travel all by yourself to New Zealand and do not allow your mind to wander off into the future.

After making the decision, actively start planning your trip. Restrict your thoughts to only planning your trip, i.e., the present moment. You will see that before you know it, the day will arrive for you to step onto the airplane.

At that point, your mind may wander off and force you to start thinking about what may or may not happen in New Zealand, and then fear may start to set in.

If this happens, decide for yourself that you have already reached the point of no return – as I call it in my book New Zealand Solo Traveler: Adventures of a Woman Traveling Alone for the First Time – so will not be canceling the trip that you have already invested so much time and money in.

Blue Pools near Queenstown and Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand

Blue Pools on the South Island of New Zealand

You’ll be surprised how fast the fear will leave you. An alternative is not to think about the trip until after you have arrived in New Zealand when it’s already too late to turn back so also too late to become afraid.

Final words on conquering the fear of going solo

I’ve successfully used the two aforementioned techniques not only to travel alone worldwide but also to master other fearful situations in my life. This is not to say that I am a fearless person, because I’m not.

However, I am a person who tends to decide what she wants to do and then just takes steps to do it. You can do the same and finally push yourself over that hurdle that is keeping you from seeing and enjoying one of the most beautiful places on our planet.

 

Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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