When anxiety becomes unwanted baggage
We definitely love to travel. We definitely want to meet new cultures, new people, new places. There are a few things that make us so determined and willed to follow always our sense of adventure: our self control, our independence and the security we portrait. If that is there, you are free to go and will be always looking for more. But, what happens when behind all that adventurous spirit there’s still a human being? What happens when all the sense of security is lost? Yes, that might happen, and it is something no one wants to talk about.
Depression, anxiety and stress are the worst enemies any adventurous girl might have. Many people would say “you actually won’t put those things in your carry on” and thats true, but if they decide to come along even when you didnt packed them?
We as women have many dreams, and for many of us traveling has an important role when it comes to those dreams. What I will tell you now no one never says it when it comes to travel: I suggest you should visit a psychologist if one of these feelings is coming to your mind prior to travel. I mean, if you are decided to travel alone and you believe 100% on yourself, just go, but, if there is a little doubt, talk to a professional.
Traveling is amazing, but it is a period of time you get to know yourself even better than you did. Travel might bring challenges such as being lost in translation, missing a bus, train or even a plane, and in the worst case scenario, being robbed. We have to be mentally ready for any situation and for handling it the best we could. That is why you should make sure you are mentally able to do this and why you should consider your mental health the same way you would treat anything else.
Anxiety coming my way…
In my case I have been traveling by myself for more than two years. I have handled all the situations previously mentioned feeling totally confident. As recent as October I went back to Europe, just 4 days after an incident that has made me a really anxious person. I must say I wish that any girl who loves to travel never have to go through that.
I thought everything was going totally normal, I was handling everything as I always did. It all started when I became more anxious about things I couldn’t really control or I can be a little more relax about like buying bus or show tickets. That was starting to not feel normal. Then I got to Rome, Italy, and I realized nothing was the same. I am exactly the same girl who got her purse stolen walking in the street in Santo Domingo, and even though I was shocked, I survived the day and ended it up being able to see one of my favorite singers, live and for free. I didn’t let that event to ruin what I went to do in the city. In Rome it was totally different. Nothing happened in the city. Absolutely nothing. I just realized I brought some unwanted baggage from home.
I remember I first arrived to Roma Termini and I just wanted to find the hostel, which was three blocks away from the station. I thought walking there was even longer than the train trip. I made my check in, I got inside the room and tried to get ready to explore as usual, but this time I couldn’t. My body felt like freezing, I started to tremble and I had to get inside the bed. My joints starting to hurt like crazy, it became harder to breath. I realized later that in Rome I had the first panic attack I’ve ever sensed in my life. In the middle of my trip, in the moment I should have been figuring out what to explore next. I failed my traveler self.
I am sure that going through that is not exclusive. I am pretty sure that many have suffered something similar and not only while traveling. I keep on thinking that I failed my traveler self because my senses were not ready to feel like that in Rome. I am not so sure if I can go back and if I will not feel the same way I did that day. I hope I don’t. I was lucky that even when my mind played a trick on me I didnt give up, and I know I wont give up traveling.
I was able to keep on exploring on the cities that followed Rome, but anxiety was always there expecting the best moment to attack. I did not allow it.
My best advice fellow travelers: do not be scared to travel by yourself, go on. If your mind is trying to trick you, accept any help you might need. We are definitely strong and we can handle anything, but theres nothing wrong to get some extra help to not lose control. We definitely need to be able to explore the world as it deserves. Traveling should be an experience that brings the best out of you, not the worst.