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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