The Shy Traveller

Before I began my adventure I was a shy person with not a lot of confidence and suffered from social anxiety. I had always dreamed of travelling the world, unfortunately I was afraid to pursue it, I had lacked self confidence, courage, social and organisation skills.

My uncle would always tell the stories of his journey through Africa, South East Asia and Australia. I used to visualise his stories and began dreaming of doing it myself someday, although unlike me he was a very confident and chatty person. I always talked to my friends about it and they said that they would like to do it to, time passed and they had jobs they were not willing to leave, I was unhappy in my job and in a low point of my life so I saved up enough money and built up the courage to book it alone, which at the time felt like just throwing myself under a bridge. I booked an adventure tour for a month to Africa and 4 months of travelling alone in South East Asia, I had worked and saved working as a chef, it was a struggle but It eventually became time to pack my bags, people would judge me and say I wouldn’t last a week I was willing to prove them wrong.

I arrived at Heathrow airport, checked in and said goodbye to my family. Once I got through customs I became overwhelmed with fear, within 2 minutes I left my passport and camera at the X-ray for one of the staff to call me back to tell me, I was pretty much a nervous wreck so I decided to find my gate and just wait there until my flight arrived, the plane arrives and throughout the journey I just worry that hardly anyone would be on the tour and if I forgot to do something like a pay a visa or anything. I arrived at my stop over in Doha and see a bunch of young backpackers walking around, a girl asked my if I was going Bangkok I replied with “no, I’m going Kenya” to which she had an expression of surprise and confusion, I got to my gate and did not see any other young traveller which added to the anxiety of being the only one on this trip as it is not a popular backpacking destination as South East Asia was.

 I finally arrive at Kenya to find a busy atmosphere with people walking around with AK47’s and my transfer nowhere to be found. after 10 minutes of searching and panicking my driver arrived. there were three people with me on the transfer but they all knew each other and spoke German amongst themselves so I was too shy to engage in conversation. I got to the hotel and went to my room wondering what the hell I was doing here.

On top of everything I had a bad stomach and suffered from constipation, I called my mum and she knew something was off with me which got her worried. the group meeting began and to my surprise was a full house of 24 people all from different countries, I felt less afraid at the time and a had few small conversations with people but as the days went on throughout the trip, people started getting along with each other while I was too shy to speak to anyone began going into my shell and started to become isolated within the group. I was also still constipated so I built up the courage to ask one girl I had previously spoke to on the bus, who was a medical student from Australia if she had anything for my stomach, being too nervous to get into detail and just explained I had a bad stomach she gave me tablets for it.

A few days went on and I am still constipated so I explained it wasn’t working so she doubled the dosage and as I took them she said “that should block anything coming out”, I then realised that she thought I had thought that I was suffering from diarrhoea and was giving my Imodium. the story passed around the dinner table and everyone found it hilarious so I then felt less isolated and started socialising a bit more, I would force myself to speak up and communicate knowing that if i didn’t it would ruin the experience and I would regret it for the rest of my life.

As the trip went on it became the best experience of my life, Africa was such a beautiful country! driving through the Serengeti and witnessing wild animals in their natural habitat, camping in the Serengeti with animals around like Elephants, Hyenas, Lions, Buffalos, zebras and more, BBQ’s in the middle of nowhere under a blanket of stars, snorkelling the paradise island of Zanzibar, lying on top and bungee jumping off the biggest waterfall in the world, playing with the kids in the village of Malawi, drinking in the bars of Africa, Campfires on the beach and finally coming out of my shell it was the best time of my life and advise everyone to travel Africa because the rest of the trip did not compare.

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