How Living in Italy Helped Me Conquer My Biggest Fears

April 3, 2015
Touring Italy: How Living in Italy Helped Me Conquer My Biggest Fears

While walking with parents to Piazza de Santa Maria, I got lost on the tiny Roman streets. I popped into a store and asked which way to go. When I walked out my mom said, “I’m so proud of you! You would never have done that before.” And she was right. I’m very different now. And Italy deserves credit.

I came to Italy for one main reason: I didn’t want to go on living life afraid. I was ready to get over my fears and not hold back in life because I was scared. What I soon realized upon my arrival was that I would have to get over my biggest fears if I wanted to live here. There weren’t many options.

Here are some of my top fears I have conquered.

How Living in Italy Helped Me Conquer My Biggest Fears

How Living in Italy Helped Me Conquer My 5 Biggest Fears
All the credit to Italy for helping me conquer these fears!

1. Public Transportation

My biggest fear when coming here was the bus. I knew I would have to ride it to school but I had never ridden a bus before besides the one in the airport. How did it work? Where would I get off? How could I buy a ticket?

On my first day in Rome, my host mom showed me how to use the bus. I was terrified. Then came the metro, which was horrifying the first time. The tram. And the train. I had to learn because I had to get around. It’s safe to say I’m adept at using all forms of transportation now.

I have learned to only buy one ticket in Rome and keep it in my bag. In the event that a patroller comes and checks, you just validate your ticket in the yellow box. I also know now to always know the direction, or the last stop, that my mode of transportation is going and the name of my specific stop. Plus screenshoting Google maps before you leave a WiFi spot is a lifesaver!

2. Asking Directions/Getting Lost

I hate asking strangers questions. I get all nervous and my voice becomes high pitched. I will walk around a store for 30 minutes looking for one item before I ask for help. That’s changed.

One phrase has helped tremendously is: “Ciao! Scusi, dove [insert name of place]”. That means “Hello and excuse me but where is…”

I now ask for directions three times on the way to The Pantheon just to be sure I’m going the right way. If I didn’t, I would be lost forever. With that said, I have gotten over my fear of being lost. I actually find great joy in it now. I was lost in Naples and I loved walking around the tiny Italian streets and knew at any point I could ask for directions and be on the right path again. Being lost allows you to explore the road less traveled.

3. Being Alone

I’ve had an aversion to being alone most of my life. I love people, talking, and just being with others. Last year I would get home from a full day of seeing people and then be alone for five minutes and go up to my friend’s room because I didn’t like that feeling. Now, I live with a host family where I’m alone a lot. I’ve found peace in turning off the music and learning how to be with just me.

Journaling and documenting my experiences while consciously working through my roller coaster of emotions has helped to keep me happy and fulfilled. Although I do still prefer to be with others, I’ve come to need some time to myself.

4. Living In The Now

My life has always been planned. I love making plans and organizing, it’s kind of a hobby. This semester I decided to put those plans on hold and just be. In doing this I’ve been able to fully experience what is happening here as opposed to in the future. I have an amazing internship this summer but I’ve learned how to be super excited for it but still remain present and excited about what I’m doing today. This semester is the freest I’ve ever felt because I truly live in the moment as opposed to always thinking about future.

5. Other’s Thoughts

When I make a plan and tell others, I hate going back on it. I feel like I’m shattering people’s view of me. This semester I realized I don’t care what others think. When I return (home), I’m becoming vegan and I know most people will think that is weird, extreme, or simply not understand. I don’t care.

I wasn’t accepted into the International Business program at USC. I’ve been saying for years that I’m an IB major but now I’m not. I don’t care what others say about it. I usually don’t go out on the weekends here and some say I’m lame, no fun, or are even disappointed in me. I don’t care. I’ve realized I can change my mind, change my identity, and be who I want without having to worry for a second what others think.

There are many more ways I’ve grown in these past few months and there will be more changes to come. Italy deserves credit for it because if I didn’t get over these things I would be paralyzed in my life here. Italy made me do it all.


How Living in Italy Helped Me Conquer My Biggest Fears photo credits by Alexis K.

About Alexis Krcelic

Alexis is a college student studying at the University of South Carolina. Always hungry for knowledge and culture, she never stops traveling or learning about all life has to offer. Her adventures take her all around the world in search of truth, love, and happiness.

One thought on “How Living in Italy Helped Me Conquer My Biggest Fears

  1. Tad
    April 3, 2015

    I always enjoy reading your posts. You have a gift.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *