Don't let other people's fears keep you from going.
There's nothing sadder than letting other folks' hang-ups keep you at home. How many of us have been told how "scary" certain places are because someone knew someone who'd once heard of someone who'd been robbed on a train or gotten sick from the water?
Perhaps you've been advised not to visit a country because there won't be many people who look like you. But so what if people stare? Although people in "low-look" countries such as the United States and Great Britain are taught that it's impolite, not all cultures consider steady eye contact "rude." In "high-look" countries such as Italy, you may find yourself the object of a long gaze. Perhaps people are just curious or think you're attractive.
Travel teaches you that we can't always judge others' behavior by how we do it at home. Use common sense, but vow to make travel choices that speak to you and your values, not other people's fears. Besides, friendliness and warmth transcend languages and cultures, so travel expecting the best.