Thursday, March 24, 2016

Traveling with Anxiety

Traveling is one of the greatest opportunities that everyone should take in life. Traveling will broaden your perspective on different cultures, people and ways of life. It is a brilliant way to grow as a person and expand your comfort zones. Bursting through the barrier of your comforts can be very difficult when you have issues with anxiety, trust me I know.

I was able to go on a study abroad in the Philippines a few months ago. Not only did I meet incredible Filipino people, but I also met young travelers from around the world that were traveling... by themselves. They were all women and they were all close to my age. They came from Israel, Poland, Holland and other places simply working for food and housing while finding cool things to do. They had so many dreams and aspirations. They were giving and caring and would share food with me. They were kind and loving and we snapped so many pictures.

If these twenty-something-year-olds can travel to an island by themselves and enjoy life in the simplest way, you can most definitely prepare for your upcoming trip. Meeting those people, that gave me this intoxication look on life, helped me to realize that everything is really okay! Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed! Don't let fear stop you from anything you want to do! This post will show you different tips for ideas to cope, strategies when you can feel panic coming on and just how to really prepare yourself to have a fantastic trip!

  • Mentally Prepare Yourself - Start talking to yourself and getting yourself mentally prepared. Whatever the trip may be... a vacation, an internship, a study abroad, whatever! Let the excitement of going somewhere new excite you!
  • Get Excited! - Learn about the food, places and history of the place you are going. Knowing more about where you are going will help you to feel more prepared and more ready to go! 
  • Travel Partners - If you are traveling in a group or with someone else, give them a heads up and give them some insight into what you may be going through. It is good to have someone that can get something for you or know what to do if the situation arises. 
  • Prepare and Pack - Do some research and make a list of important things that you can't miss out on. Being fully prepared and packed for your trip can also help anxiety issues from coming up. Check out some packing lists, talk to who you're going with or someone who has gone to the location and make yourself a list!
  • Bring Something - This is a strategy that works for a few people. Bring an item from home ( a figurine, a scarf, a book, a picture) that reminds you to keep your cool. It can be something that is tied with a calm and happy memory, something that can make you feel safe. Having a tangible item to grip to and to shift your concentration to, can help during stressful situations.
  • Medications? - If there are any anxiety medications that you are currently taking, make sure you enough for your trip. If you are reliant on it, you wouldn't want to run out. 
  • Mentally Prepare Yourself - Flights are a walk in the park for some people. I personally adore flying and feeling the plane lift off the ground. Although, flying during a storm and having major turbulence can be pretty nerve racking. Get ready for any weather predictions and turbulence. Breathe and relax. Realize that every attendant on board is trained to handle these situations. Pilots have been trained and certified to fly you across the world. Trust them. 
  • Remember to Breathe - When your heart starts racing, and you can't think straight, start with some simple breathing techniques. 
  • The Three Things I Bring - Water, gum, and music. Those are the three things I personally need to keep calm. Take a swig of water, pop in some gum and plug my headphones in. Listen to music that takes you back to a good memory or a happy moment in time. Steady your breathing, focus on the song and allow yourself to calm down.
  • Don't Worry, Be Happy! - You're on adventure! Be happy and present where you are at! You may never have a chance to visit this place again, so soak up every moment. Test your social skills and talk to people! Say hello! Ask locals about their favorite places to go, some are happy to direct you somewhere! Live and enjoy these moments.
  • Turn To A Friend - If you are traveling with a group or someone else, turn to them if you need any kind of support. If you're traveling with them, chances are that you've known them for awhile. Talk to them and get things straightened out. You got this!
  • Call Home - A great way to put your mind at ease is to go ahead and give home a call. If you're in another country, you might want to try a video chat over the internet. It'll be free that way. Tell them about your adventures! Tell them about the food you've eaten and the experiences you've had. Talking to family members or friends can really help ease your mind. It may make you miss them, but being able to have them only a phone call away, can be a relaxing thought.

Thanks for Reading!
Love, Nick

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  1. Hi! I ran across this from Pinterest and I just wanted to say thank you so much for the advice and tips. I struggle with anxiety and am really nervous for a 2 week trip in Greece, but just reading that I am not alone in this helps! Have a wonderful day!

    1. Thank you Lirabel! I'm glad you found it useful! Greece sounds amazing! I've never been there myself, but I bet you'll have an amazing time. Thanks again for the support and good luck! :)