Something that has made a large impact in my life is my mental health. I’ve always had anxiety and while I have traveled before, it is something I have never done alone. Going to college has somewhat eased my mind with doing things on my own, like going to restaurants or having the confidence to order things and speak up. But doing those things in a foreign country that does not have English as one of its languages made that social anxiety resurface.
I had fears regarding speaking the local language (Czech) and either having the person not understand me and facing the embarrassment with that, or have them laugh at me for even trying. However, something that helped me through is the idea that by talking to the locals, I was separating myself from just being an obnoxious tourist and becoming a traveller instead. I hate the thought that others would perceive me as a person that doesn’t bother to learn about the culture or the people of the place they were visiting. I knew that by making the effort to speak Czech and getting over the fear of maybe messing up here and there would make me a better traveller and a more respectful person. My mental health identity has impacted my life for quite some time, but I’ve learned that those in other countries are people too, and not just accessories to my own travel experience. They feel the same things I do and knowing that has helped me overcome the uneasiness my mental health gives me.