Travel Anxiety

By now, most of my readers have figured out that I travel a lot, that I’m planning on continuing to travel a lot, and that more often than not, I travel alone.  I’m pretty experienced at traveling, and I’ve more or less got my rhythm down.  What would surprise most of you, I think, is that I suffer from fairly strong travel anxiety. Utterly pointless, illogical, irrational, but still very powerful. In my head, it’s kind of like this:

Gut: We’re gonna miss the train!
Brain: Relax. We have seven whole minutes to walk from platform four to platform eight. We could moonwalk  there and still make it.
Gut: But what if this train is EIGHT minutes late to the connecting station?
Brain: Then we take another train. There’s another train going to the same place twenty-five minutes later.
Brain: ::sigh::

…and so on.

When I’m traveling, I get into a partial flight or fight mode.  My heart beats faster than normal even if I get to the train station or airport with hours to spare.  If I have imbibed more than a tablespoon of water, you can bet I’ll be in the bathroom repeatedly. (I joke that I’m just following Imperial protocol, dumping all of my garbage before I make the jump to light speed.)  I’m always worried that I’ve left something behind or forgotten to lock my apartment door.  I can’t fall asleep on planes or trains either; I’m usually too wired.

My brain knows that I can handle anything that might come up-  there’s always another way to get to where I’m going.  I’ve never been truly lost, or truly stranded.    Even when my flights got buggered up last March and I was stuck in Frankfurt for an extra night, I was able to find a hotel with Jenny’s assistance from her computer back in Regensburg.  I’m not even all that bothered by airplane turbulence.

Every problem I’ve ever encountered while traveling has been solvable and none of it was really all that bad.

…Gut: But we’re gonna miss the plane!

Do you suffer from (or enjoy) any travel anxiety?  How do you handle it?


14 thoughts on “Travel Anxiety

  1. I tend to only have anxiety about infrequent flight connections — as when there is only one flight a day between two places. Otherwise I always assume something will go wrong with my travels and am perfectly happy when nothing does.

    For example, when my flight from Chicago to Munich went mechanical Sunday evening — delayed by 3 hours — I just didn’t worry. Happily, when I landed in Munich, Lufthansa had already rebooked me and sent me a text message informing me of my new connection to Berlin. Before the plane got to the gate, I had already downloaded the new boarding pass and was relaxed when heading toward immigration.


  2. Same here. Totally irrational! Hardly sleeping the night before a flight because “the alarm won’t go off” or “I’ll sleep through it” is another classic, I think. It’s never actually happened to me. Sometimes, I get to the airport four hours before my flight is due to leave. If I don’t have an unreasonably long time buffer (“in case something happens on the way”), my anxiety levels go through the roof.


    1. Oh yeah, I’m with you there. I often get to the rail station far, far too early and then have to sit around because I was too eager to make sure I wouldn’t miss my train… in two hours.


        1. I usually travel with a variety of devices to keep me entertained, but when I’m sitting in a train station, I can rarely focus on the screen. I’m always too fascinated by the people around me!


    1. Have fun! I’m a little jealous of you- I wish I could make it to NYC this summer. With New York, the streets are conveniently numbered- makes it much easier to find your way around.

      If you have a chance, hit the Cosmic Diner at the intersection of 8th and 52nd avenue, about a block away from the Gershwin Theater where they have Wicked. It’s yummy.

      Take lots of pictures! I haven’t been to the Ground Zero memorial since they opened it. And I totally want to see


  3. nel

    Thanks for posting this, I’m glad I’m not alone, lol. I sleep well on planes and think turbulence is fun. I’m very OCD about packing and forgetting something though. I think for before my last major trip I must have checklisted my luggage 7 times, LMAO. That’s a mental disorder if I ever heard of one. I also don’t like connections less than 1 hour apart.


  4. I’m the same! I always get butterflies when pulling up to the airport that stay until I’m through the security gates. I’m always worried I left my straightener plugged in and my house will burn down while I’m gone.


  5. I am the EXACT same. My boyfriend had to wake up early to catch a train this morning, and we’d both set alarms for 630, but I woke up at 530 asking him what time it was… it wasn’t even my train! God I’m crazy.


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