Getting over Travel Anxiety

Have you ever had to deal with travel anxiety when traveling with kids in the US? What is an easy way to handle the negative self-talk that comes up on a trip? When was the last time you felt refreshed by an interaction with a stranger?

Most people take vacation to be refreshed, inspired, excited.

You can also use vacation to stretch your boundaries. To try on new ways of being.

Running from one end of check-in to security, my husband was in the lead, two kids in the middle and I was bringing up the rear. Fifteen feet ahead of me, I could see  my son’s shorts were falling down and his toddler butt sticking out at the top, like a tiny plumber’s.

I yelled at him to pull up his shorts, and an attendant from United wearing bright blue polo shirt near us turned her head.

“What?” She said to me as we both kept walk-running towards security.

“I was talking to my kids.”

“I thought you called me Ma’am.”

“No.” I said. She looked as frazzled as I felt.

Crazy day?”

“Yes, but it all turns around here.”

“YES.” I said. I thanked God, travel angels, the patron saint of travel (I used to have his medal in my car) and myself for encountering a kindred spirit.

“Headed home or starting travel?” she asked.

“Home,” I said, “Greenville, South Carolina.

“My daughter just moved to Myrtle Beach she said.” We both lit up, delighted at the connection.

“Here’s my card. If your daughter wants to get in touch. I’m a psychic and just started telling people. We’re not too far apart.”

“Thanks.”

And we parted ways at security.

Security proceeded to pull every family member’s backpack. The clock ticked and we stood there helpless. We watched them go through 4 backpacks, one at a time. Granola and trail mix is a red flag, apparently.

I was trying to keep the mood light, keep my kids occupied, and keep my husband from swearing at everyone. It actually didn’t leave any room for my anxiety in that moment.

I was determined to make true on the words of the attendant who I randomly encountered.

 

Was it random or fate?

Does it even matter?

I took the invitation she gave. I’m inviting you today.

Break the bad habit. Stop the emotional loop.

Pause in your mental narration.

I’ve been suffering from travel anxiety for a number of years now. Only a few people know, as I’ve been embarrassed to admit it.

Anytime airplane travel comes up, I get travel anxiety. Any trip creates a level of it, but especially airline travel.

Prior to 9/11, I only felt the thrill and excitement of travel. Statistically, the planning of a vacation often brings more happiness and joy than the actual vacation. I’m determined to get joy out of both the planning and the actual travel.

Denver airport lies in the middle of prairies, with hazy snow-capped mountains you can see in the northwest and subdivisions all around. There’s a Mustang sculpture with glowing red eyes that’s rumored to be possessed near the entrance.

Denver airport is also rumored to be haunted- but I don’t let myself go there. Denver airport is not a fast place to move through.  

Due to long stoplights, traffic, and a last minute phone call, we were late, driving to the airport. I gulped and kept taking deep breaths, trying to keep the stress away, as the clock ticked 1:45 minutes till our flight was supposed to take off and we had just returned our rental car.

I was starting to feel my pulse rise, my fingers and jaw tighten.

This was the trip I was determined to do 2 things.

  1. Get comfortable telling perfect strangers that I’m a psychic, and
  2. Get over my travel anxiety (or at least make progress on it).

The universe knew my intentions, hence, giving me the perfect scenario for stress and anxiety.

As we rode the shuttle bus to the airport and we were 1:38 minutes to takeoff, I caught my thoughts circling the drain over anxiety.  

Wait. What if this is all happening for me?

What if I can believe that everything will be ok?

How did this question help me? I used it as a jumping off point for positive self-talk. I proceeded to ask that question again and again to myself in my head. I looked around for evidence that everything would be ok. I practiced taking a deep breath and being mindful of my surroundings and that I was safe and ok in that moment. 

If you can, let yourself ask this question:

How is everything working out for me?

If you prefer statements and affirmations to questions, you can use:

“This is happening for me. The outcome of this will be better than I expected.”

What happens when you ask yourself that and you have a shitty circumstance?

  • You start getting traction in your business and a pandemic begins.
  • You line up a great camp for your kid and they shut down for lack of staff.
  • Your partner starts drinking/smoking/eating for unhealthy escape more and you feel the two of you growing apart in tiny ways each day.
  • Your sister doesn’t understand you and you wonder what family even means anymore.
  • Your coworkers seem to get more toxic, selfish, and stupid by the week.

Is it possible to believe that life is working out for you even in these circumstances?

Even despite these situations

Yes.

Its a little like a zen koan. This is the meaning of faith.

Hold onto that seed of truth and let your mind search for the soil.

Keep looking for the evidence.

Look for the good.

Look for the moments when your body says yes…

Yeeeessssss.

this is breathing,

this is living,

this is warm, yummy, gooey brownie goodness.

This is the unexpected smile from a stranger who’s eyes say, “I see you. I understand what you’re going through,” that pierce your heart and make you relax your shoulders right when you need it.

This is the moment your back groans with relief as you lie down after a day of physical work.

This is the moment your mouth barks out a laugh from your new favorite show, book, friend’s story.

This is crunch of fresh carrots from the farmer’s market (or your yard) that tastes like earth, sweetness, and vibrancy.

This is the folk song that fills holes you didn’t know were in your body cavity with guitar strumming, vocals and voices singing home.

Give yourself time when you have these moments to really feel them. 

Revisit them in your mind as you go to sleep. 

Return to them in challenging moments.

And remember, this is all working out for you. 

If you don’t know HOW its working out for you, don’t worry. You aren’t expected to figure out the how. Just be open to the FACT that it is working out for you. 

Keep looking for the evidence of it. 

Keep believing. 

Keep feeling.

🍓🌎🌈

If this created peace, a smile, or enjoyment for you, please share this article with a friend.

Before I head off, here’s 3 ways to work together: 

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