An adventursaurus isn’t affected by anxiety, are they?
The answer sadly is yes. Travel opens up the mind to new experiences, cultures and types of stress. I usually like to keep my blog up-beat and light hearted but I also intend to be honest. Bloggers make travel look easy, whether it be backpacking, luxury escapes or a weekend in another city. This isn’t true, nor is mental health glamorous; recently I’ve seen a surge in mental health travel bloggers. Travel anxiety for me is a long, windy road. I doubt I will ever reach the end; instead I control the pace. When my mind wants to race or escape, I choose to slow down and eliminate the problem if possible. Don’t be fooled, a one way ticket half way around the world will not rid you of anxiety, as fabulous as it sounds. In fact, it will be waiting for you in the baggage reclaim hall, with a big sign and some new friends.
I had a travel anxiety induced panic attack whilst in Singapore last year. For those of you which haven’t experienced this before there is only one way to explain it. Imagine a swarm of bees flying around your head in circles. The bees are also listening to very loud trance music. And, they’re also setting off fireworks at the same time; they’re still flying around your head, getting faster and faster. Sensory overload is one of the worst experiences I have ever had, lasting only minutes but it felt like a lifetime. It saddens me to see how many humans are scared of mental health breakdowns and would rather play ignorant than stop. Though there are some very kind humans out there. If you see a panicking human with a map, make sure they are OK. The world could always use an extra act of kindness.
Kindness costs nothing, but it means everything
Occasionally travel anxiety presents itself as lethargy and exhaustion. You can’t do anything but succumb to it. Sightseeing is hard work, I know I shouldn’t have to say that. But, in some places it is exhausting; the crowds, heat, information and not to mention the price are all forced upon you. That’s before you’ve seen the sight itself. If Prague taught me one thing, it is definitely visit places out of season and midweek. When the travel fatigue sets in, there is absolutely no shame in spending a day lying in bed watching reruns of The Simpsons. Nowadays my favourite part of new destinations are usually a botanical garden or somewhere near water. Except the beach, flip flops terrify me!
Travel planning is an activity which allows me to prepare for every way I could feel whilst travelling. In the past I believed it was a chore, now I find myself really excited about buying a new guide book. I love picking one or two things I would love to see, then finding out what else is in the surrounding area. No one is able to explore a whole place in one visit. Any human or dinosaur telling you otherwise is either a) a being with superpowers, b) lying through their teeth or c) has visited the place before. The moment travel becomes stressful is the moment to take a step back and simply enjoy the view in front of you.
My travel anxiety no longer comes with a side dish of guilt when people ask about my last adventure. No I may not have seen all of the major sightseeing attractions. But, that excited me because I know I can return to the destination without the fear of the unknown about the country. I am excited to return to some familiar destinations in the future because I know I will always find something new to explore.
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