I Have A TON Of Travel-Related Anxiety, But I’m Not Letting It Win

A week ago today, I jetted off to California for a press trip to Facebook’s headquarters. I posted the above on Instagram and made it all seem like a breeze. 

Reality: The day of my flight, my hands felt shaky and I felt lightheaded. I was sobbing the entire drive to the airport. I’m not afraid of flying –– unlike most people I know, I actually enjoy getting meeting chatty passengers — but I am super anxious about traveling away from home. Cue the world’s tiniest violin. It sounds ridiculous to complain about having amazing opportunities but being too scared to take advantage of them, but it’s also what I’ve dealt with. I wrote about my experience earlier this week for Bustle:

I’m not open about the extent of how travel anxiety affects me, mainly because it feels like an embarrassingly privileged thing in the first place. In order to have anxiety about traveling far from home, you have to have the means to leave town — which makes travel anxiety sound like the ultimate first world problem. Bemoaning that I have the ability to see the world but skip trips because it’s hard sounds oblivious, which is why I rarely broach the topic. But as I prepared for California, the too-familiar symptoms hit me.

It’s possible to feel anxious about travel without having clinical anxiety, but I fully believe that my anxiety disorder makes it hard for me to change routine, which makes travel miserable for me. I skipped a lot of sleepovers growing up and would cry before going to summer camp, even if it wasn’t an overnight camp! Even now, my friends can attest to how little I like changing plans at the last minute. I’ve never done well with spontaneity. I mention in the Bustle piece that I passed up a trip to Europe in college because I panicked at the thought of leaving the country. So how am I getting over it?

By going on the dang trip. 

That’s my goal for 2018, anyway. When I’m freaked out about the unexpected, “just do it” isn’t exactly an encouraging thought, but it’s also motivation for me to get off my butt and try. I went to California alone and had a great time. I still had my panicked moments, but I was fine. I even got to talk to Sheryl Sandberg, and she was incredible.

So what are my main takeaways?

  1. Don’t be afraid to do something that scares you. You might have fun along the way!
  2. Instagram rarely tells the whole story –– we’re all struggling behind the scenes.
  3. Even if your fears seem silly, they’re still valid, and you can still conquer them. 

Here’s to making this year more adventurous than any of the previous ones.

xo, 

Ayana 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *