Monday 5 March 2018

Planning My Way Across the World

Chelsea shares her tips to help loosen the anxiety when travelling the world.

- Chelsea Smith

Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling. I love the freedom, the exploration and immersion of all your senses into something new. But then as I lie in bed the night before a flight I have that niggling feeling of anxiety. I’m about to fly however many miles away; away from what I know, away from the only language I speak fluently, to somewhere where anything could happen. Then my head is circling in a series of what ifs, and I don’t get any sleep the night before my flight to however many miles away.

Specifically, this was me the night before I flew out to Mexico. It was my first truly international trip, outside my safe confines of Europe where I could be home in a couple of hours if anything went wrong. Since then I’ve learnt how to loosen the anxiety the night before and leading up to a trip away.

For me, a mixture of things has helped. I do really enjoy yoga and have found it has helped a lot with my stress in general, but before a trip I do tend to end up on the mat a lot more. The control I have over myself whilst in a yoga flow and the breathing techniques taught within yoga help remind me that I am in control. No matter what could happen however many miles away, I will be able to deal with it, breathing in and out.

As well as this, planning and researching my trips has helped me to feel more excited than anxious about stepping off the plane however many miles away. Looking into the culture and appropriate clothing to be worn in Uganda made me feel more comfortable and confident that I was packing suitably for my volunteer trip to Kampala and more rural areas of Uganda. Knowing I had a backpack full of clothes that would help me blend in and not stick out like a sore thumb – or worse, offend someone – reassured my anxious self into having a better night’s sleep.

Sometimes I find myself getting a little worried whilst I’m away as well, specifically the night before I do something adventurous, outside my comfort zone. The night before I was set to go out and try white water rafting for this first time, it’s fair to say I tossed and turned a little. However, it was a great comfort that I’d looked into the company I was rafting with before I arrived; I was confident with their reviews and they were a reputable group of people to go head first into the water with. This, coupled with my comprehensive insurance, acted as a blanket of reassurance that relieved most of my anxiety.

Everyone is different, and this may not work for everyone, but when you love to travel you don’t want to let your anxiety get in the way. Finding techniques like this, that work for you, can really help transform your travel experience into a more stress free and enjoyable experience.

Hi, I'm Chelsea a third-year Geography student at the University of Southampton. I'm currently an FCO student ambassador and Travel Editor, finding relaxation through writing.

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