When I was initially faced with the option of either spending a week alone in a foreign city or changing my flights to be with my friends, a lot of me wished that I had a legitimate reason to go with the latter. But I didn't have a legitimate reason other than fear, and while fear is a legitimate emotion, it's not something that should hinder you from embracing opportunities.
There were so many things I was afraid of; missing one of my connecting flights, having my luggage misplaced, losing my passport, not being able to figure out how to get from the airport to my apartment. But then I was reminded of how kind and comforting perfect strangers can be. Before I had even gone through security at Melbourne, I met a well-traveled lady who was on the same flights as I and who was happy to answer all of my annoyingly detailed and often entirely unnecessary questions. When I got to my seat for the first two flights, I found that I was next to the kindest woman who was happy to chat away with me for the following 13 hours and who collected my between meal-snacks for me when I was sleeping and the air hostess tried to skip over me (in all my uncultured and untraveled-ness I didn't realise that they wouldn't wake you up for food. I just thought everyone would want to be woken up for food). On the last leg of the flight and upon hearing that I was by myself for a week, the London-native woman next to me gave me her phone number in case I needed anything. And finally, an hour before we landed in London and just as it began to dawn on me how completely alone I was in the city below me, a girl from two rows in front told me she had overheard that I was traveling alone like she was and we promptly agreed to navigate the Heathrow airport tube together and meet up the following week.
Reading all of these things probably doesn't convey how relieving and important it was to me at the time. More than that, a lot of people reading this are probably thinking "uh, why is traveling alone such a big deal? This girl is a freak", but it was a big deal to me and it's something I never would have thought I'd have the courage to do. But alas, I am in London and I just had the greatest first day abroad in the seaside town of Brighton with some wonderful new friends (post on that to come later).
To conclude this very long and probably very boring post, I will say this; I think there is good and bad fear. The bad one is obviously when we are in legitimate danger and our body/brain is like "dude, I don't think this is a good idea." The good one however, is the fear of the unknown and the different, and that's the one you need to look out for because so often it can disguise itself as bad fear and stop you from living and growing. Do the things that scare you, you'll be better for it in the long run.
(P.S I promise that all my travel posts won't be this philosophical, it's just that I think I've beaten jet lag and now I feel like I can solve every and any problem in the universe.)