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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.
When Anxiety Becomes

Brenda: + 31 years old + Puerto Rican + Viajera Boricua + Master in Cultural Tourism + Foreign Language Major + Hispanic Studies Minor + Portuguese + Italian + Russian + Literature Freak + ♥’s Indie Music + Volleyball Enthusiast + Tricolor do Morumbi(SPFC) + San Antonio Spurs +

Comments:

  • January 26, 2016

    Solo travel is the cure for so many things, especially anxiety!

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  • Bob

    January 26, 2016

    One of the best ways is to avoid travel anxiety is to always be aware of your surroundings. Remember you are in a foreign place that you are not used to and in some cases may stick out and be an obvious target for someone wanted to take advantage of you. Whether you are a man or woman the same holds true that a little common sense and caution go a long way.

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  • January 27, 2016

    This reminds me of my first flight away from my country. Since then, I’ve become a pro.I agree with Bob on being aware of your surrounding.
    I love traveling solo 🙂

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  • January 27, 2016

    Thanks for sharing this insight. Some good advice in here.

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  • January 27, 2016

    A big thing to remember as well is that no matter where you are, you’re never completely alone. You’ve always got friends and family to listen if you need an ear. Great post, thanks for sharing this! 🙂

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  • January 27, 2016

    Thanks for sharing a very personal experience. There is definitely nothing wrong with finding someone to talk to or taking some anti-anxiety medicine for any short-term chemical imbalances until things go back to “normal.” Happy/safe travels!

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  • January 27, 2016

    Great article. Good incite. Always remember your travel communities, we look out for each other 😉

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  • January 27, 2016

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Traveling can make home feel very far away, and not always in a good way… Again, thank you for sharing this 🙂

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  • January 27, 2016

    I agree, getting rid of this kind of feelings is not quite as easy as “not packing” them with you…thank you for sharing, I enjoyed your article!

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  • Jenna

    January 28, 2016

    Anxiety can be a real monster. Kudos to you for fighting through it!

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  • Christine K

    January 28, 2016

    Really good article that shows us a different focus on travel. I have had some of those same feelings. Thanks for sharing.

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  • January 28, 2016

    That must have been so hard! Hope you don’t let anxiety stop you from enjoying your travels 🙂

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  • February 10, 2016

    Great topic. My son has anxiety and this is a great resource for him to read.

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  • February 20, 2016

    Hi Brenda! Thanks for sharing this!
    I am planning an upcoming solo trip… and although I am totally confident with traveling alone, I am a bit worried that I will experience some random anxiety during the trip! What are some tricks you use to handle the anxious moments?

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  • April 1, 2016
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  • James

    January 14, 2020

    Thanks for sharing so wonderful tips.
    I always have a bad time before and during the flight.
    Meditation is helping me a lot!

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  • Crom Rehab

    June 16, 2020

    Thanks for sharing! Hope you are staying safe!

    reply...

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