Are you prone to travel phobias? Does your heart go into lockdown when the plane doors are closed? Do you hide in the next room if a spider crawls across the floor? Do you get dizzy just thinking of mountains?
If the answer is yes to any of these, you may suffer from one of these phobias. If you love travel, that can be a real blow.
Millions of people suffer from these anxieties, and they avoid driving, flying and many other travel-related activities because of these fears - not to mention the various phobias related to insects, animals, other creepy crawlies and flying things we inevitably find on the road.
As I started researching this article, I was amazed at the sheer number of travel-related phobias or types of travel anxiety – some I'd never heard of. Still, it goes to show just how many fears we have (and how badly we need to deal with them if we are to travel with serenity). Here are some of the main ones.
See how many of these fears can be related to travel? From crossing a bridge to get to the airport to flying in a plane to encountering critters in a rainforest, the opportunities for fear are plentiful.
Since I'm not a health practitioner, I won't delve into the medical aspects of any of this. However, my personal experience may be of help to you.
Sometime in my twenties, I developed an irrational fear - I became scared of flying. I'd been flying since I was a baby and loved it, so I have no idea what caused it. I just woke up one day with this terrible sense of foreboding that my next plane was going to crash. And when it didn't, I simply assumed I'd miscalculated and that the next one would be 'it'. It is now a number of years later, and many many flights.
Adding insult to injury I wasn't satisfied with one - I needed two travel-related phobias! I became afraid of heights, and for someone who loves the mountains I can tell you this was not welcome.
So how do you deal with these phobias? Does that mean you're doomed to stay home?
Not at all. There are remedies, some simple, some long-term and more complex, but most of these phobias can be, at the very least, managed. Here's how.
The most common approach to phobias is traditional therapy. I tried this with my own fears – I thought something must have happened, buried deep in my subconscious, that provoked these travel phobias so I signed up for a series of sessions with a therapist to deal with my fears. Unfortunately, we were unable to unearth the source of my anxieties.
Significantly more successful was hypnotherapy, which uses hypnosis to relax you deeply. After a few sessions, I was taught to relax myself and would do my exercises before walking at altitude. It really did help minimize the fear, converting it from terror-level to merely very afraid.
However, I eventually quit my hypnotherapy sessions because in the end, I relaxed so much I fell asleep!
I finally found a solution to my fear of heights. My partner was at the time practising EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique, which you can learn for free online. All you do is tap lightly on your face and say some words (I'm obviously oversimplifying!) and if you do this regularly enough, those travel phobias will disappear. I still don't adore heights, but I'm no longer immobilized. I've also used this technique before going onstage or speaking in public – that oppressive feeling in my chest disappeared.
As for my fear of flying, that's gone too. I tried a number of courses and I actually failed one course - although how you can fail a course like this was beyond me AND the instructors. But then I found this course - and it worked!
One course that has helped me immensely for all fears and phobias is Don't Stress It, an eight-part course delivered via email. A few years ago I was planning a major trip to Central Asia and those nasty forebodings hit again. By now, though, I knew they were irrational - all I needed was to find the right tool to work them through.
Enter my friend Mariana Calleja, MD, a doctor-turned-blogger and traveler, who understood the links between stress and fear and developed a course to deal with anxiety and create healthy habits, getting both your body and your mind into travel-ready shape. She offered to let me road-test it just before it came out and by the time I'd finished the last class, I was fretting to get on that plane, all concerns and worries long gone.
When you travel, especially solo, you need to rely on your body more than usual. There's the wear and tear of travel, of course, but there's also the foreign food and water, and the potential difficulty of finding medical care. Creating healthy habits that keep you serene helps you avoid not only health problems, but the anxiety that can lead to them or result from them.
Stress can also prevent you from thinking properly and affect your judgment, yet making smart decisions is essential during travel. By understanding your anxiety, you can tackle it and prevent it from harming you.
And if you're the kind of woman who needs personal interaction, Mariana is offering a special one-off Skype or phone consultation for FREE to everyone who buys the course.