Menaka George is a professional copywriter with a Masters in Business Administration. She has written weekly blogs for Malaysia’s Largest Online Wine Shop, WineTalk, and over 1,000 product descriptions for eBay. She currently contributes digital articles to various commercial and corporate giants.
Special thanks to Menaka for investing in the piece below and for sharing her journey with travel anxiety.
“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…. And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self.” ― Søren Kierkegaard
I can’t remember how it started. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment. All I can remember is that it was like a tidal wave pummelling me, pulling me deeper and deeper down. I was so weak and tired that I just didn’t know how to get back up. Before my flight that morning, I vomited at least five times even before leaving the house and continued to get sick throughout the day. I wrought with cold sweats, light-headedness, and a lightning-speed heartbeat. It was hell on earth.
Travel isn’t supposed to be this hard. It’s meant to a happy, fun and exciting adventure. The word anxiety should not bear any correlation to travel. All the fluffy, “you can do whatever you want” notions of travel didn’t exist to me. It got so bad that I didn’t leave the house for months at a time. If I did have to go out, I’d work myself up into a hysterical frenzy. Of course that didn’t help at all. I thought this was it. This is what my life is going to be forever because I couldn’t see a way out.
Even though I truly hate talking about my emotions and feelings, I knew that deep down I could not keep going any longer. I was so sick and tired of my life not being my own anymore that I was willing to try anything. Getting help was the hardest thing I have ever done. Therapy didn’t take away my travel anxiety, but it gave me the courage, confidence and skills to manage it. During my recent solo trip to South East Asia, I planned my itinerary in a way that would help curb my anxiety and keep it under control so that I could still have fun. This article highlights exactly what I did and how I did it. Read on for tips and best practices, all of which helped keep my travel anxiety at bay.
I made up stories: I usually imagine missing my flight, violent turbulence or losing my luggage. To counter this, I mastered the art of ignoring my intuition by making up other happier stories in my head. For every doomsday scenario you imagine in your head, try to also make up a detailed counter-story that is positive and outlines an ideal chain of events. More often than not, the ideal situation is what ends up happening. Another good step is to look for a detailed and expansive travel plan. Personally, I took to AIG’s travel plan well, and decided to get travel insurance through them. This allowed me to tell myself that I would be taken care of should anything happen. When fears of accidents, falling sick or missing my flight took over my mind, I quickly reminded myself that whatever happens, the insurance plan has got me covered and everything will be okay. Click here for more information on AIG’s all in one travel plan.
I listened to music: When my anxiety sets in, it gets hard not to imagine the worst. Besides making up stories, I like distracting my mind with good music. Try to distract your mind with music that appeals to you, and as your mind relaxes to the engaging sound waves of good music, your anxiety driven thoughts will hopefully subside. Try to make a playlist of songs that remind you of a carefree time in your life and it could provide just enough distractions to get you through a tough moment. When I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia I heard about Marini’s on 57, a beautiful restaurant that was known for its incredible sunset views and calming ambience. They played their own dedicated album called Sunset Hours Vol.1 by Jose Padilla that was so soothing. It was inspired by the iconic red sky, which bathes the entire Kuala Lumpur City skyline during the “Sunset Hours.” Paired with the finest Italian cuisine, I felt all my worries slip away. For their latest promotions and menu updates follow Marini’s on 57 on Facebook.
I formed a routine: I discovered that part of my travel stresses stemmed from having a lack of a routine in my life. The lack of control over my daily regimes heightened whenever it came to time travel. To overcome this, I crafted a simple routine to help me stay on stack on. Over time, this helped me feel like I had a stronger grip on my day. Next, I moved on to planning more concise and structured travel itineraries.
I took care of myself: I realized that balancing my blood sugar levels played a governing role in reducing my anxiety. When I experienced dips in blood sugar, dormant fears and anxieties became amplified. Eating a balanced diet with frequent snacks on a travel day may keep your metabolism fired up and your blood sugar levelled.
So, that’s my own little list to combat travel anxiety. I learned to challenge myself to travel, step out of my comfort zone and get help. Slowly, I’ve begun to heal. I’ve also learned to keep patient. Everyone reacts to stressors and stimulus in their own way. I always remind myself to take a deep breath. We are not alone!
Learn more about taking control of your well-being, here.