Anxiety is very common these days when dealing with a range of day to day things. It can affect everyone in different ways and sometimes can even stop you from doing things you may enjoy. I suffer from a terrible case of anxiety when it comes to road travel. I know, I know “how can someone who travels so much still have anxiety?’. Easy really and as hard as it is getting on board I still do it.
My on road anxiety started on a bus in Perth, WA of all places and through the years (and many incidents – like that tuktuk crash or the several nearly head-on crashes in Vietnam) it has become bad to the point of not wanting to go anywhere I have to get in a moving vehicle. This is not good when you LOVE to travel and experience new places.
If you are not sure what exactly this kind of anxiety feels like picture feeling like you can not breath, with your heart racing 200 kilometres an hour and your brain screaming “STOP” or “SLOW THE F DOWN”! That is what I experience every time I get on the road with someone other than myself or Dean (well even sometimes when Dean drives) behind the wheel. I will even experience this feeling when I am walking down the street watching the buses go past.
Due to how bad my anxiety has become over the last few years I have developed a way to distracted myself 85% of the time I have to do this. If you feel like you also suffer from this kind of anxiety try a couple of these and see if it helps with distracting you.
Bring a book or load up your kindle. Reading a book has to be the best way to distract yourself from your current predicament! I don’t know about you, but when I get involved in a book I am no longer involved in my surroundings, which is a massive plus when I have to be on a long bus ride.
Music! Load up you phone with your favourite music or listen to spotify (if you have data) to fill your mind with pleasant noises. I find however, that I need to distract my eyes as well or it cancels out the music. This is when you could bring a magazine along for the ride, so both sight and hearing has been taken care of.
Some buses in Asia will have local music videos playing on a T.V. Watch that if you have no other form of distraction. While this helps it is not high up on my list.
If you are only on a short distance bus or taxi ride play games on your phone and DO NOT look up.
While distractions are helpful there are other things to consider. Like, do not sit at the window seat, unless there is a curtain to block out your view of the outside world whizzing by. I find that people do not or will not understand my anxiety and often I find they will make jokes or have a giggle because I will not look anywhere else but my phone. While this will sound silly to a lot of people my anxiety is real and while I try to control the level of it it is something I have to deal with regularly. This is why I decided to share with you all what I experience, so you can see that no matter how bad your anxiety feels you can discover ways to help lower your level of anxiety so you can continue living life.
After all life without travel is no life at all in my opinion.
What do you do to help lower your level of anxiety, so you can still enjoy doing what you love?