Lifting Weights at the Train Graveyard
“How excited are you for your trip?” my boyfriend asked.
“Moderately,” I said, “I still have to pack.”

Moderately. I’m about to embark on a should-be amazing trip to Lake Baikal, the Baltic countries, and my dear Finland. Why wouldn’t I be excited? Alas, although I’m an experienced traveller, the pre-departure anxieties still cling tightly.

I’m an incredibly anxious person. Even going to the grocery store down the street stresses me out, and I waste away in anticipation of the hour when I’ll need to force myself to leave. And driving? Please, please, don’t suggest that I drive somewhere new, or to a place with scarce parking. There’s a good chance I’ll be teary by the end of the struggle—if I’ve even been forced into the car.

How is it that I’m able to travel, to throw my nervous self into random places with languages I do not know, unsure of exactly where I’ll sleep the next night? Travel has taught me a lot about living with anxiety, and indeed, has strengthened me in my daily life. I know I need to keep at it.

By the process of hurling myself into the unknown again and again, I have developed an intimate knowledge of pre-departure anxiety and how to live with it.

Though anxiety can’t easily be banished and left to fade in the dark corners of your brain (it grows there, you see), it’s possible to prevent it from running roughshod all over your mind and ruining the bright anticipation of your travels during a period of time that often lasts longer than the trip itself. Here are some tips from an anxious girl.

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