Travel transitions have always been difficult for me. As a kid, I panicked just before each trip, especially if I was leaving my parents. Of course, the trips always went smoothly and I loved every moment of adventure and exploration. But, as soon as it was time to head home, the same feelings of panic and dread set in. Even when I was back on home soil, reunited with my family, I often felt anxiety.
One time, I was so upset I started to cry at our welcome home dinner. I felt embarrassed by my unexplainable anxiety and tried my best to hide it by stuffing my mouth with chicken fingers (I was 10) and sipping water. The technique worked until my repressed tears forced me to take a sharp breath. I choked on half-chewed chicken and threw up all over my plate in the middle the restaurant. I was so embarrassed by the event and confused by my anxiety, it took me years to admit to my family that I wasn't just sick that night.
I choked because I was crying. And I was crying because travel transitions are hard. They gave me anxiety I didn't understand or know how to handle.
Through the years, my travel anxiety has evolved. And while I understand it more now, it is still a tricky beast and has nearly prevented me from traveling many times. So, I’ve developed a few go-to tips that help me when I’m gripped by the familiar fears of a travel transition.
break loose from travel anxiety
You control your breath and your breath can control your state of mind. See how powerful you are? Find words to coincide with your breath and recite them to yourself. My personal strategy is "peace" on the inhale and "ease" on the exhale.
Sitting in an airplane seat or wallowing on the floor means you are entirely focused on the fear in your mind. Get out of your head and into your body. Go for a walk, strike some yoga poses, or do some kegels if you're seat-bound. If you can switch your focus to your physical being, it will help halt the spiraling in your mind.
look it in the eye.
Why are you feeling this way? What are you afraid of? It's easier to conquer something you can identify, so pull it out of the shadows and look it in the face. You are mightier than this monster in your mind.
Give yourself some peace of mind by preparing beforehand. Print your itinerary and confirmations, know where you're heading and how you're getting there. This will reduce the "what ifs" and give you a more realistic perception of your destination (and all the fun you'll have there!).
remember you are in control.
You chose this trip, this flight, this destination. If it really turns out to be as terrible as you think, you have the power to turn your butt around and go back.
Each person experiences anxiety and its triggers differently. The more familiar you become with yourself and your anxieties, the easier they are to battle. So find the tools that work best for you do your best to push past those fears. There are fantastic adventures waiting for you on the other side.
And if all else fails, just picture yourself here.