Solo travel: Anxiety

Being all alone in the world can be really scary, lots of people will never travel solo because of it. But is your fear something that should hold you back?

Short Answer

My short answer is: No! You should not let your anxiety get the better of you when you can go on a grand adventure of a life time!

So what should you do when you do get overwhelmed by everything in the grand world of being alone?

My own experience

My first solo trip was when I was 21 years old, I went for 5 days to Dublin all by myself for the first time ever. My mom dropped me off at the check in desks and when we said goodbye tears started to wet my eyes and I said goodbye to my mom.

Back then I was the most confident person in the world, played in several bands at once, trew myself on stage every week to get paid. You wouldn’t see me as the person who would tear up with his mom.

First Solo Trip Picture
Me back in 2009 on my first Solo Trip

I went trough security and the world was at my feet, I felt like a king and I was going to make the world mine.
But 10 minutes later anxiety hit. I was all alone, nobody around to help me, nobody who cared about me in any way shape or form. I actually got a pretty decent sized panick attack from that.

So how did I get further from that panick attack?

I looked around and saw a small Irish pub and I felt right at home, because in Amsterdam I normally went to Irish Pubs while going out. So I sat at the bar and ordered myself a glass of Jameson whiskey.
While I sat there I started working on lyrics for a new song I was writing, I even remember them to this day what I exactly wrote:

“I’m a drunken bastard and I really like to drink,
So give me an old whiskey and I’ll give you a wink.
My glass is never empty because I never drink alone,
So come join the party lad, we’re not going home!”

I managed to get my mind of the scary world of being all alone to being creative. I’ve always been a creative person and it takes me to my own little happy place.

After that moment of being in my own little happy place, everything was perfect again.

Face your fears

Solo traveling is the greatest adventure you will embark on. If you never take the first step, you will never have that true liberating experience.
I can ensure you that the first hour can be scary, but if you adapt to your situation, you will become a whole new person, you will be the person that you want to be.

You are never alone

Even though you are not traveling with your parents or your loved ones or even your friends, that doesn’t mean that you are alone.
A lot of people at the airport are paid to actually help you along. They won’t be going with you the whole way, but you can ask them anything.
See a McDonald’s that is not busy? Just ask them where you need to go. They certainly don’t mind telling you where your gate is. You are not the first person to ask that specific question, we get it multiple times a day.

Even if you have a breakdown moment and you need someone to talk to, walk to an airport employee and tell them that you need a moment with them to talk or to just sit there with them. Nobody at the airport will look weird at you for needing help. Flying is after all really stressful for most people. They have seen it all and you are not the first person to freak out there.

Be confident

When you were young you read the stories about young people going on the adventure of a life time. Guess what, you are doing the exact same thing! Just say that you are going to do it. Face your fears and bring yourself to do this adventure of a lifetime!

Plan ahead

The internet is an amazing place to find info. Are you scared that you won’t find your way trough the airport? Find an online map and study it.
When I was a teenager and I wanted to ride my bicycle trough Amsterdam I knew I needed to know the roads, so I studied the map of Amsterdam and now I know it by heart.
If you know how much time it will be from A to B, make sure you have 10 minutes more for when something does go wrong, don’t be there at the last moment, be there before you are on time. Because after all if you are on time, you are late.

Meditation

Meditation can be an amazing tool to get your head straight. There are always places to be a bit alone or away from stress. Close your eyes and go to your happy place. Put on some relaxing music and you will be on your way to being calm again.

*disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this should not be seen as medical advice
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