After moving in with my Dad in Germany, I realised I was desperate to see more of Europe - but didn't want my anxiety to get in the way...
I was living at my Dad’s house in Germany, having moved there from Australia for my gap year adventure. I desperately wanted to travel. I'd seen bits and pieces of Europe with my Mum and Dad, and I'd done little trips here and there - but I wanted more. I began comparing the options of solo travel or doing a Contiki tour.
I wanted to go away for a couple of weeks but I was hesitant about doing it by myself – Despite this I was determined to prove I was independent, so I laid out a 2 week plan to see how much it was going to cost me. It was my Dad who said that he would feel better if I chose to do a Contiki, he thought I would be safer that way. In the end, I chose Contiki because I thought “why not, it’ll be fun!”
The biggest thing terrifying me at the beginning of the trip was meeting my tour group. I am extremely shy - and the night before meeting everyone, my stomach was in knots.
It took people coming up to me and introducing themselves to me before I actually made friends, as I didn’t have the confidence to approach anyone myself. I met a few girls who I clicked with instantly, and felt much better about the next morning when the tour started.
As an anxious person, I had moments of panic through the trip. When I was ordering food in a different language, I didn’t want to pronounce something wrong and offend anyone. Despite being nineteen, I never went out clubbing unless we were getting the bus back to the hotel. I was terrified of catching a taxi at 2am especially in a foreign city where I didn’t know the language or my surroundings.
What I loved about travelling with Contiki was that I was always going somewhere with someone who I felt had my back in case something went wrong. My accommodation and travel methods were all planned out for me so that I didn’t have to worry about cancelled flights or dodgy hotels.
Walking through the streets of Europe, I was so transfixed with the history and culture, that I stopped thinking about the fact that most of the people around me didn’t speak my language and how I was thousands of kilometres away from home. I didn’t get homesick, I just couldn’t wait to see where we were going to go next.
I will always recommend Contiki to anyone who suffers from anxiety like me, as you have no idea the weight that will be lifted from your shoulders in having contiki as a support system for your travels.
The experience made me realise my true love for travelling, and the travel bug will never leave me now. It opened my eyes up to what else is out there in the world, and made me push through the anxiety – as I know what amazing things are out there if I just get out of my comfort zone. The trip allowed me to grow as an individual, and even branch out in things like trying new food (I was a fussy eater before, but I tried snails in Paris and actually loved them)! So the big question now is, where next…
Written by Jessica Gleeson. Content courtesy of Contiki