Is Fear Keeping you from France?


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Is fear of flying, fear of not understanding French, fear of trying to speak French, or simply fear of being regarded as the ugly foreigner keeping you from booking a flight to Paris?
There are plenty of reasons/excuses/rationalizations for not traveling.

Some Americans may be under the false impression that they would receive a cool reception in France. In most cases, this is untrue.
You may also be petrified at the idea of flying overseas given the added problems of airport security and the general state of paranoia that pervades air travel these days.

Over the weekend, I was invited by the Association of American University Women in Rochester, NY to give a lecture on my book The Fearful Traveler’s Companion

Although one chapter is devoted to the fears associated with flying, another section deals specifically with living in France (and in particular, the fear of making a fool of oneself!). It’s not only foreigners in France who worry about this – because losing face is an issue for most French people too – you want to pass your bac, be witty, drive a nice car, have well behaved children, etc.

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My best advice is to be as sincere and interested in the people you meet as you can be. Sincerity can cut through so much of the charade of social posturing in any country. If your friends can see through to your core, they will forgive a lot.

There are many other fears associated with travel – it can be as simple as being intimidated by the Parisian Metro system – or even ordering from a menu – where nothing looks familiar.

We are often creatures of habit, choosing the same foods, the same routes, and hanging around always with the same friends.

What I suggest to anyone who is waffling on booking a trip overseas (for a variety of reasons), be sure to ask yourself honestly – are your fears about travel- founded or unfounded? Will you always carry a regret for the rest of your life if you’ve never made your ‘trip of a lifetime’? If your motivation is strong and you think that you would enjoy being in another country to experience all the sensations of ‘otherness’, now is the time to book your trip.