So You Want to Study Abroad: Travel Anxiety


I always get really bad travel anxiety before a big trip. The first time I went to Europe, I remember being petrified the night before I left for the trip.

What if I forget something? I thought. What if I lose my passport? What if I get lost? I’m always the one who gets lost. What if the plane goes down? What if…? What if…?

I was so worried that I asked a good friend of mine to pray for me. I wanted all my bases covered, just in case.

I still get these negative, panic-y feelings before I go on a long journey. This summer I went to Italy with a UCA Study Abroad group. The morning I was supposed to get on the plane, I didn’t want to get out of bed.

I had been spending time with my partner the day before and I confided to him that I wasn’t excited about the trip at all.

I knew that I should be, but I couldn’t feel through the fog of worry and fear to find any thrill in going. I felt like I was faking it when people asked me if I was excited. And what kind of person doesn’t get excited about a trip to Italy?

My point is that it’s okay to be nervous before traveling. I think a lot of people get scared beforehand, and it’s not really talked about because you’re supposed to be so excited and happy.

There are legitimate reasons to worry. Going on a long trip is a big deal, and going somewhere new will test you. But that doesn’t mean it will be a bad experience. Every trip I’ve taken was difficult for different reasons and each had its own moments of unhappiness. But every one was a worthwhile experience full of joy, and every one made me a stronger person.

I’m nervous now about the trip I’m going to take in December. I don’t feel mentally or physically prepared. But I have support from those I care about, and I’ll be traveling with one of my best friends, who I know will have my back while we’re gone. I will probably be an anxiety-ridden ball of negativity in the airport parking lot, but I’ll get on the plane anyway.

And I’ll be glad I did.

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About Author

Maggie is an English major and journalism minor who serves as editor of The Echo. She loves reporting and copy editing but struggles with the fact that the Oxford comma isn't used in AP Style.

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