Fear is a natural reaction when we try something new. And when used as a tool, it can help us stay out of trouble. But when fear of traveling becomes overwhelming, it keeps us from some amazing experiences. If you’re feeling afraid and considering cancelling your travel plans – this post is for you!
We all feel scared when we think about doing something for the first time. And when you imagine all the possible catastrophes you might face, the fear of traveling with pets is completely understandable.
I’ve been where you are. Too many times to count. When I started planning that first long road trip with Ty and Buster. When Rod and I decided to sell our home and move with the dogs into the RV. The first time I drove the motorhome. When we swapped the small motorhome for the larger one and I started driving that. My first solo cross-country road trip with Myles.
At any of those points I could have chosen a different route. And no one would have blamed me. In fact, most of the people in my life probably would have argued for sticking with the comfortable and familiar.
But now I look back on everything I would have missed and the thought makes me teary!! How do you even begin to measure twelve years spent exploring the U.S. and Canada with our dogs?! All the friends we made? The time we spent with our families? The joy of watching Ty and Buster explore so many places?
I’m so grateful that fear didn’t stop me. And I want the same for you.
READ MORE ⇒ The Ultimate Pet Friendly American Road Trip
You’re Not Alone
When we were traveling, getting together with people in the GoPetFriendly community was fairly common. One week I met with two separate women who had similar stories.
The first had purchased a little motorhome and actually drove it up to our meeting to show me. It was a sweet little RV – everything a person and her furry travel companions needed to get out on the road.
She was attending a conference later that week, and had planned to make the 100-mile drive in the RV. But when we sat down for coffee, she was about 90% of the way through talking herself out of it.
READ MORE ⇒ Tips For RVing With Pets
The second woman had been dreaming of buying a travel trailer for herself and her two dogs. She already had the vehicle to tow it and had done a lot of research – narrowing it down to the brand she knew she wanted. Then her brother-in-law told her that she wouldn’t be able to learn to maneuver a trailer, and she’d nearly given up on the whole idea!
Fear Often Fades When Shared
What is it about fear that gives it such power over us? These were both capable, smart, strong women who’ve had no trouble taking care of themselves for years. But they were both so afraid they’d nearly surrendered the idea of living their dreams.
Sometimes sharing your fears with a supportive friend seems to be enough. I’d only just discovered that both of these ladies were struggling to overcome their fears while we sipped our coffee. But as we talked, I told them my story.
Our blog might make traveling with pets look easy now, but it wasn’t always that way. When we started out, I was afraid, too. For the first 25,000 miles, I was too afraid to even drive the RV – and that was when we had the little motorhome!
It took time for me to overcome the fear of traveling. I had to learn, experience, and build my confidence that we could do this. But somewhere along the way I’d come to know that no matter what popped up, we were going to be okay.
Leveraging The Fear Of Traveling To Prepare
If you’re still with me, it’s likely you’re feeling some level of fear over traveling with your pets. The most important step is to acknowledge the fear and realize it’s there to help.
If we use our fears to plan for the situations they breed in our imaginations, we’ll be better prepared. And then we can move steadily forward toward our goals with more confidence.
How Things Turned Out
So, if you’re wondering how things turned out for the women who inspired this post …
The first woman drove her RV to the conference. Afterward she reached out to let me know that the trip went great.
The second woman made a plan to rent a small U-haul trailer and ask her neighbor to teach her how to connect, disconnect, and tow it.
They both took the next step forward, and all they’d needed was a bit of encouragement.
As for me, I drove with Myles from Arizona to Pennsylvania to spend some time with my family. We were well-prepared, and we all had a fantastic visit.
READ MORE ⇒ Tips For Traveling Alone With A Pet
Things To Remember To Overcome The Fear Of Traveling With Pets
Traveling is like anything else – it’s scary in the beginning. But the only way to learn is to get out there and do it!
So, if you’re hesitating to take the next step toward something you really want, let me remind you:
We all start out scared. You will learn, and as you do, your confidence will build.
There are a lot of people out there already doing what you’re dreaming of – and they are no smarter than you.
Remember that humans seem to be hard-wired to imagine the worst. Make yourself also imagine the best – and realize that reality is much more likely to resemble the best-case scenario.
Use your fears as a tool. Think through what you’d do if the “catastrophe” you’re imagining actually happened, then make a plan for it, and don’t let yourself dwell on it.
Surround yourself with supportive friends. Look for groups of people who will provide advice to help you get started and cheer you on as you move forward.
Don’t waste time worrying about what other people think. People who make negative comments are probably not genuinely concern for your well-being. Likely they’re trying to dampen your enthusiasm so they can feel better about their boring life.
Setbacks will happen. Consider it a learning experience and don’t give up because there’s a bump in the road.
Start small and build momentum. Releasing the metaphorical parking brake is often the hardest part – once you get moving, you’ll see that getting over your fear of traveling with pets is not as hard as you thought it would be.
Looking back, I’m so grateful that Rod and I didn’t let fear stop us from traveling. And, if our story helps you reach for your dreams, nothing would make us happier!
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