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.
Gut: WE’RE GONNA MISS THE TRAIN!
…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?