I’ve been so busy working and getting ready for our trip that I haven’t had much time to think beyond the prepping and packing. True to form, I’ve been ignoring my nerves and ploughing forward.
Where does the anxiety about traveling come from anyways?
Travel anxiety comes from the feeling of being unsafe.
I believe the perception of safety comes from familiarity with our surroundings and being comfortable in a given place. When I’m comfortable with a location, I know what areas I should be avoiding, and what I should or shouldn’t do. Traveling somewhere different means I don’t know where I should or shouldn’t go and how I should or shouldn’t behave. I also don’t know what to expect of other people’s behaviour. The more I travel, the more comfortable I become in different environments, because being in a new place starts to become a familiar feeling.
At the beginning of our year away there’ll be a bit more unfamiliarity with the unknown. But, as the year progresses, it’ll become more part of our routine. Each new city will provide enough unknown it’ll start to become our new normal.
I’m beyond my fear of the unknown. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.
It’s one of those things that tests a person’s very core. Can you face the unknown and maintain control? Or do you cower and retreat to the familiar. Some people have no desire to step out of their comfort zone. I can respect that. Sometimes I wish I was comfortable living within mine.
But I’m not.
I like pushing myself and seeing just how far I can go.
This doesn’t mean I don’t have my breaking point. I do. If you watched our YouTube video from Burkina Faso you can witness it. Randy caught it on camera. I believe the phrase “I’m so done with Africa” was used!
My goal is to learn where that breaking point is, and come up with ways to push it or change it. At the very least, I want a quick recovery after I’ve broken!
Over the years I’ve learned my triggers, and I’m often able to walk away from a situation that’s going to cause me stress. I’d love to learn how to better handle those situations head-on rather than walking away.
One of my greatest anxieties about the year is that I won’t learn how to handle my stress. That I’ll constantly be walking away before hitting my breaking point, rather than facing it.
And then there are border crossings.
Another BIG point of travel anxiety heading into this year is around some of the border crossings! Many will be easy, but we’re planning on crossing a few borders known to be particularly difficult. I’m not really concerned about getting through. We’re lucky enough to be a Caucasian family holding Canadian passports.
We pretty much won the travel lottery.
It’s more the process of actually getting through customs. I’ve read stories of people being harassed about being a spy because they’re traveling with a drone, or border guards spending ages flipping through photos on an iPad or iPhone and demanding deletion of certain ones.
I’m not a patient person, and I don’t like being in a situation completely out of my control. From that standpoint, border crossings are my worst nightmare.
I’m traveling with my husband (which makes life infinitely easier) and two cute little blonde girls who are incredibly friendly. We tend to luck out a lot because people love our kids! The thing is, if it wasn’t for the girls I don’t think I’d be stressing about the borders. If it takes me 12 hours to get the approx 200km from Osh, Kyrgyzstan to Kashgar, China, who really cares! But when I have the girls with me I stress over it. I need to make sure they’re fed, have enough water, are somewhat entertained, and don’t end up needing to go to the bathroom at the absolute wrong moment.
And the worst of it is, I’m in control of most of it!
I can control the amount of food and water we bring. I’ll make sure the iPads are charged and loaded with videos, and the card games are easily accessible. There’s even the opportunity to ensure they go to the bathroom on a regular basis. In reality, the girls are usually fine. They’re used to traveling and they handle delays way better than I do. I shouldn’t need to stress over it…but I do.
I try not to sweat the small stuff.
The normal things that would cause most parents anxiety; injury, illness, kidnapping, etc, don’t seem to be worrying me.
We’re gone for a whole year. Someone’s bound to get sick or injured at some point in time!
I’ve basically got a pharmacy packed, so I’ve got the ability to deal with minor ailments. For the bigger stuff, I’ve got a list of the recommended English speaking medical facilities in each of the cities/countries we’re visiting. Including address and phone number. I’m calling it my little black book. Hopefully we won’t need it, but I have it just in case.
The only other thing I’m worried about is that we’ll all suffer from travel burnout.
A year is a long time to be away, and I have high aspirations for what we’re going to see and do this year. The kids are pretty good with being pushed, but only to a point. I think Randy’s actually more anxious about this than me!
The best way to combat burnout however, is to just be aware of it. So I figure I’m well on my way to it not being a problem. Hopefully. I’m trying to prep myself to be okay not doing it all, and adopting the phrase “there’s always next time”.
I just have to accept that there will always be something we don’t have time to do.
What would you be worried about if you were taking your family traveling for a year?
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