10 truths of traveling with anxiety

So, I have pretty bad anxiety of all sorts, and anyone with anxiety knows that it is a constant struggle. Every day living gets a bit more challenging when everything makes me stressed and anxious. I am lucky that I have a great support in Max, but I still face some unique additions to my travel life. Don’t get me wrong it is not all bad – and I have learned to adapt. I try to jokingly refer to my anxiety as a superpower, and every superpower comes with drawback or weakness right? So here just a few of the things that I have noticed come with living a travel heavy life and having anxiety. if-only_i_had_superpowers

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5 Challenges of Travel with Anxiety.

  1. Getting Around can feel Impossible.

So, the main struggle that I face with getting around is that I have never been able to drive. In the car I have panic attacks and I have trouble sometimes just being a passenger. So this leaves all of the driving to Max, which can be quite a burden. It also means that I get pretty familiar with public transportation, which is time consuming.

2. Planning takes up a ton of time.

Like a lot of people with anxiety, I very much prefer to have things organized and well planned out. This means that leading up to a trip I tend to spend a lot of time researching where we are going, what we can do, what to pack etc. I pre purchase tickets and will often times have trips planned out months in advance.

3. Taking on too much causes a lot of stress.

Related to how much I plan, and how far in advance I plan I will often have 4 or 5 trips planned out, with tickets and hotels already booked for the next several months. On top of my day job, working online, blogging, house chores and all the trips I tend to be in an almost constant state of feeling very overwhelmed.

4. Adapting is not a strength.

Travel is unpredictable, going to a place or event that I have never been to before does not always go the way I planned. When things don’t go as planned, or I realize that I did not bring something that it turns out I need –  well, I generally just plain fall apart. This is a great place that Max will step in a take over and find a way to get what we need or adapt to the change that has come up.

5. Exhaustion is not a good traveling buddy.

I tend to be always tired, I work a lot at a stressful job. On top of my every day activities I am spread pretty thin most days, and I am often just barely keeping it all together. When I finally get to relax, and breathe I am often so tired and relived to be away from it all that I am so very tired. If I do not have a pre planned activity, I will usually opt to just stay in and nap all day. Not great for sight seeing.

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However for as many drawbacks as anxiety gives my life, I am learning to see the good that it can bring. I now try to refer to my anxiety as a super power when I am feeling particularly fragile.

5 positive aspects of traveling with anxiety.

  1. Fully enjoying even the smallest trip.

Even if I am just away for the weekend, the chance to escape all of my usually stressors and to be somewhere distracting is amazing. When I am out, excited and doing something new I can really embrace the moment. I have none of the usual things to stress me out, so I can much better take things as they come. I can leave my “to do” list at home. When I get somewhere, I already did all that I could. I also very much enjoy getting away from every day life. I have no house chores, co workers or busy schedule when I am away and that is a very welcome break for my brain.

2. Being Prepared.

I mentioned how stressful it is to over plan, however once I get to where I am going it is really nice to have everything I need in surplus. Heck even for first time Burners I packed enough supplies that we had extra to gift away. I am almost always very over prepared and I have back up supplies for my back up’s. Overkill? Sure. But they come in handy, and that is a nice feeling.

3. Finding amazing adventures.

I research every trip way more than I should, but in doing so I find every published “hidden gem” or “must see” attraction near where we are going. I have found events and off the path stops that people I talk to have never heard of because of the hours that I pour over my destination to make sure that I am mentally prepared.

4. Buying in advance saves money.

I mentioned that I plan months in advance, which has challenges. However, buying event tickets, flights,  and hotels months out saves quite a bit of money. I get so many early purchase event and travel discounts. I also hardly ever run into the problem of things I want being sold out or missing deadlines. So I can select the options best for me, rather than needing to settle for whatever is still available.

5. Personal Growth and Accomplishment.

Traveling with anxiety is hard. I have shed a lot of tears, and had a lot of days where I have no idea why I live this crazy life. I have wanted to cancel trips and sell tickets back but I never give in. I fight through the tears, stress, anger and feeling overwhelmed every time and when I conquer that trip or plan that was so much work I feel like I can do anything. Not only do I have amazing experiences, but every time we conquer a trip – even one’s that fall apart – I feel so proud and then I remember why it is all worth it.

 

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2 thoughts on “10 truths of traveling with anxiety”

  1. Thanks for sharing! I love traveling, but am always stressed about it. We travel in the U.S. quite a bit, but I have started a blog 200 Saturday’s until Paris, to do much research, due to my anxiety. It is quite a bit away – so I hope to limit the amount of anxiety I have about it! We shall see!

    1. Planning helps so much! It’s hard when something that we love so much also causes anxiety. Glad to see that you also don’t let it get you down and keep on doing what you love.

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