Advice from the Wild Hearts: Overcoming Fear

It's a question I ask every Wild Heart:

How do you overcome fear, anxiety, or self-doubt?

As can be expected when you ask for advice from a tribe of kick-ass humans who actively work to live the lives they imagine, the answers are thoughtful and inspiring. Individually, each quote is a courage nugget to tuck away for when our confidence needs a snack. But together — themes emerge. These themes read as a step-by-step guidebook for moving through fear.

What can you add? How do you overcome fear, anxiety or self doubt in your own life? Please share in the comments.


“Take a deep breath.”
Michelle DeVona, 33

“I typically take a deep breath and break down the situation into smaller, more manageable parts. Free writing in my journal also helps quite a bit (I have several notebooks going at once — one is always within reach). And if all else fails, there's always chocolate.”
Hillary Federico, 26

“*and breathe*”
Lauren Williams, 26

“Take a deep breath and pretty much talk to myself.”
Willow Ritch, 27


“Talk myself out of it. Remind myself I'm doing okay, and that I'd rather get hurt living than die bored at home. I try to remember to bask in my accomplishments too, so I remember what I'm capable of.”
Kat Liljegren, 28

 “Sometimes it is much harder than others. If I find myself getting in to a rut and hiding from the outside world, I let myself take some alone time but I continue to tell myself that I have already come so far and can do anything! Just because one person may dislike me does not mean everyone does. I encourage myself to go on an adventure and find something beautiful that day.”
Cayla Sanderson, 24

“Constantly trying new things has helped me realize how capable and resilient I really am. Remembering that helps me stay grounded when I feel fear, anxiety, and doubt. I'm able to think back to other times when I have overcome difficulties or pushed myself and am able to encourage myself to do the same again!”
Olive Zoe Shipley, 28

“I remember something my father always says to me when I'm stressed out or feeling overwhelmed, everything will work out, because it has to. Whatever I'm scared or worried about, in the end, it'll be something that I faced and dealt with and even a really bad day, is just that — a bad day.”
Tara Tiffany, 30

“I often tell myself to stop being a pussy (to be blunt).”
Willow Ritch, 27


“I try to always be safe and prepared for dangerous situations. I also have no problem seeking help and support from people when I need it.”
Valerie Brogden, 27

 “Usually, I will do my best to calm myself down and call my family for reassurance.”
Nikki Vargas, 28

“….or dipping into a Whatsapp conversation with the girls.”
Lauren Williams, 26

I also surround myself with a lot of amazing people and am never shy to reach out and ask for support when I need it. I couldn't live the life I do without my incredible network of friends and the love I receive from them.”
Olive Zoe Shipley, 28

 “I plan. I ask people. I do lots of research.”
Nicole Trilivas, 33


“I ignore it, suppress it, put off thinking about it. If I'm stressed out and scared because I don't have a place to stay the next day I tell myself, “Well, that's tomorrow's problem!" and just go to sleep. It's worked out so far. I slept in a bus station once. I do the same thing with worrying about my future. I just decide it's not today's problem and that I'll deal with it later or something will just work out. Probably not great advice, but it's working for me for now.”
Zoe Ferris, 26

“I meditate daily. Traveling to Asia taught me a lot and meditation plays now an important part in my life. Going within, taking some time to center myself amidst the chaos of life is what helps me overcome doubts.”
Chiara Chiarello, 40

 “Awareness is the best safety tip I can ever offer. When traveling alone, one must ALWAYS stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings, no matter where they are traveling or what part of town they are staying. Being aware helps in avoiding potentially dangerous situations.”
— Shaina Wexler, 30

 “In the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey Hepburn’s character described her feelings of fear and anxiety as the “Mean Reds”—whenever she felt the “Mean Reds” she would go the Tiffany’s store and surround herself with beauty and luxury. I think the sense of abundance calmed her down. Whenever I doubt my life choices — I go to the woods — nature is real and solid — and this helps me to see things as they truly are. Most of the expectations placed on us by our contemporary society are social constructs — an illusion — being in nature brings me back to reality and reminds me that I am forging my own path based on my own understanding of truth.”
— Pippa Gunn, 36


“I just swallow it and do. If other people can do something, so can I.”
Elaine Ginger, 28

“I am not sure how I will overcome this fear of flying. I can only hope when the time comes to enter the plane that I will face it head on like I have everything else.
Jasmine Reese, 27

“Facing it. There is no other way — meditation helps too. I think those feelings love it when we run away from them; they feed on our fear from feeling them. But if we make a stand and say I am going to be right here watching you, they eventually feel bored and walk away.”
Sandra Guedes, 32

 “I used to run away. If I was anxious or fearful, I used to literally just leave. That's probably why I started to travel in the first place. But, then I realized that most of the doubt and fear came with me wherever I went, and that's when I knew I had to figure myself out. Slowly, I started to confront my issues head on, which was really uncomfortable and hard, but I'm better off for it. Now I travel because I simply love it and whenever an unpleasant feeling arrives, I greet it like an old friend, embrace it and manage to work through it.”
Amie Grant, 26

“Embrace it. I grew up in a family that was very anxious. I spent a long time working towards getting over anxiety that was driven into me from a young age. Travel has helped me a lot with it. Praying, meditating, yoga, being around nature and understanding that everything will be okay, so long as you stay true to yourself and your path. Also not worrying about what others think of you, knowing that you know what is best for you. The only thing I really fear these days is artistic failure. I am trying to nudge my way into the travel writing and photography world, fear is very hindering. So most recently I've been working slowly, slowly to get over it. And doubt. Well doubt doesn't enter my mind at all to be honest. I am pretty rooted in my faith as a Greek Orthodox Christian, and I was taught that doubt can be deadly. So I have wiped it out from my mind and spirit completely.”
Anna Maria, 29

 “I favour the Love. It is always there... all the little voices are there. So I don't try to make them go away. I invite them all in, but then I favour the Love.“
Sufey Chen, 22

 “I remind myself to just do it. More often than not, when it comes to travel, you'll regret NOT doing something than doing something, so I push myself to try new things.”
Christine Stoddard, 27

“Shake it off. That's the only way to deal with it really. Whatever it is that we are afraid of isn't going anywhere so we might as well just learn to deal with it and face it head on.”
Andrea MacEachern, 36

“I put one foot in front of the other and just keep pushing myself.”
Jennifer Melroy, 25

 “I make myself do scary things on purpose. Fear is just a behavior pattern that needs to be broken, just like biting your nails or self-criticism. The only way to overcome fear is to face it head on and give that fear a different job.“
Carrie Pritchard, 25

“I don't think I ever truly overcome fear, anxiety, or doubt. Those are feelings that are always there. I choose not to let those nagging thoughts control me, and keep me away from my passions. So I push through and continue towards my goals regardless of my nerves.
The term ”fearlessness" tricks us into thinking that we can't do something unless we lose the fear. But you'll never just not be afraid one day — you have to go through the experience at least once. Most likely you'll surprise yourself with what you can do if you just push through the discomfort.
Little by little, I've built up a tolerance to my fears, anxieties, and doubts.“

Kae Lani Kennedy, 26

“Sometimes fear, anxiety and doubt can be paralyzing. Research helps but sometimes it's just taking a deep breath and forging ahead anyway. Lists and writing down whatever I'm scared about also help as they let me visualize what it is I want to accomplish.”
Ashlyn George, 28


“As far as doubt goes, I just keep believing no matter what. I try to ignore negative self-chatter and self-criticism. Sometimes my mind likes to sound like a broken record, “What if this is the wrong decision?" That questions plays over and over in my mind. I just get out my violin and play a few tunes, listen to some good music and then I am able to see the picture of my dream clearly again.”
Jasmine Reese, 27

 “I don't get this... Why would someone fear what could be the ultimate trip?! Just dive in, you might surprise yourself!”
 Rachel Cunningham, 31.5

“Traveling as a solo woman doesn't phase me, but leaving my son behind in another country...well, I get a lot of flack for that. I don't feel like I should have to justify it, but that's the society we live in, and sometimes I wonder if it makes me a bad mom. My son's in a great situation with his dad and stepmom, though, and I communicate with him regularly on Skype so that's the best I can do. I personally don't think that women should abandon their dreams and goals and sacrifice everything for their children. I'm a role model for my son and I want him to get the message that he should go after what he wants, and not worry about societal pressure if what he wants happens to be outside the norm.”
Maggie, 30


“I have to really trust myself, my gut, my instinct. I've been to nearly 40 countries and everything has been great. I can also be my worst enemy when it comes to decision making. However, after overcoming many situations, I come out stronger, prouder, and more confident and trusting of myself than ever. That is VERY important when traveling alone.”
Danielle Riffenburgh, 31

“I have made my peace, or trying to make my peace in this world. Also, when in doubt, hitchhike :). But in all seriousness, I truly believe that the energy you put out into the universe is what you get back, so I try to stay positive and believe that everyone I meet is capable of good”
Laureene Reeves Ndagire, 30

“Trust intuition, and err on the side of safety.”
— Gail Grycel, 58


“I do what I can to control the situation (for example, in the case of door worries, I put a bottle in front of the door so it falls and wakes me if someone tries to open it)... and take some deep breaths and believe in myself and also the good of the world.”
Stephanie Kempker, 27

 “To be honest...drugs. And I mean this seriously. I would not be able to travel comfortably without Imodium and small doses of Xanax.”
Sydney Meredith, 25

 “Sometimes it takes me a day or two of some quiet time to shake off fear or anxiety. If I'm feeling a bit unsure of myself in a certain place, I'll ask locals for advice on where to go and make sure I know where I am at all times, or make friends with someone in the hostel to come out with me. I don't change my plans; I'll just make the situation safer.”
Lisa Owen, 31

“I was scared of heights so I joined the circus AND I got a locals all access pass to a bungee jump tower- jumping once a week for months. I wouldn't say it 'cured' my fear of heights- but I'm 'less' scared now, lol!”
Aya Kristina Engel, 27