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Thread: Travel Abroad Anxiety

  1. #1

    Question Travel Abroad Anxiety

    Hi all,

    I am a recent college graduate from California, I am traveling abroad for an internship with my friend who also is graduating. I am so excited to go and have been since we found out a 2 months ago, we leave the beginning of July and it is really cool amazing opportunity that we are getting. The internship is shark conservation!

    The internship it self involves diving with sharks and being very up-close to them. I am not even worried about that part.;

    but just this morning it kind of hit me. I leave in less then a month to go from California to South Africa. And then from South Africa to Ireland and then back to California.

    It is 3 weeks of being away from home. The longest time I will have ever been away from home with out any family. The furthest I have ever traveled. The first time I left the country was 3 months ago and we went to Spain. I loved it but I am freaking out now. I am just so nervous. The travel is 35 hours to get there and I am so excited but so nervous.

    Some of m anxiety is just irrational, like what if people forget me once I leave?? What if something goes wrong and no one cares? What if there is an issue with the travel? What if i get there and I am no good at the job?

    I just am having a hard time coping now with all this change... (also I am graduating this weekend from college, searching for a job, and will be looking for somewhere to live and have never been out of my families house before) it just feels like a lot. I am both excited and so afraid.

    Thanks for just letting me talk, even if no one responds. Writing this out really helped.

  2. #2

    Smile Re: Travel Abroad Anxiety


    Finding myself really relating to your post. I found this site because I leave tomorrow (!!!) for a 28-day backpacking trip through five countries in Europe with a friend, a present to ourselves for finishing up graduate school last week. I've found that my anxiety related to traveling is pretty new; in my early 20s, I up and moved to Costa Rica without a care in the world, but here I am at age 30 and I can't stop shaking or dry heaving into my toilet at the thought of getting on that plane tomorrow morning.

    I'm a clinical social worker, so my job is literally to work with kids through mental health issues like anxiety, but it's SO much easier said than done when you're going through it yourself as we both are right now. I feel you and I'm with you. A few months ago, I traveled to South Africa as part of my graduate program and had the same intense anxiety (I almost cancelled my trip two hours before I left). However, despite that anxiety, I still went on the trip and had a life-changing experience. I would have been FURIOUS at myself if I hadn't gone. So, I keep reminding myself of that when I think about this next trip.

    What also saved me was an email I got from my own therapist about approaching my anxiety and powering through it. I've been rereading it as I mentally prep for my trip tomorrow, and maybe her words will help you too.

    "These are things that you want so much in your life - connection, adventure, aliveness, and genuine deep experiences. It makes sense that as you get closer to the edge of this likely life-altering experience, that you are experiencing so much intensity and anxiety. Almost like your spirit knows you can't turn back into your old familiar ways. This is you claiming the new. Try to breathe deeply, be kind to yourself, and know that it will get easier as you relax into it, and see if you can trust yourself that this is the right thing for you in your life. You are learning to tolerate your anxiety and simultaneously move towards your goals and values, and I'm so impressed with you venturing on this trip even as you sit with such uncomfortable feelings."

    I hope some of that resonates with you as you get ready for your potentially life-altering travel experience and whatever comes next after graduating. Lean into the anxiety; it's just energy telling you that what you're doing is exciting, new, unknown, and therefore limitless. I'll do the same and we'll both have an incredible time. And working with sharks?? AMAZING.

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