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.
5 Challenges of Travel with Anxiety.
- 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.
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.
- 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.