Travelling Anxieties

Photo by 蔡 嘉宇 on Unsplash

In just over three weeks I’ll be getting onto an airplane, by myself, and travelling to the Amazon rainforest. I’ve wanted to go my entire life but it’s one of those things that I never thought would actually happen. I also never thought that if it were to happen that my anxiety would be outweigh my excitement. But here we are…

Anxiety is a weird thing. I’ve struggled with it for my entire life but wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my mid-twenties. I feel I have a pretty good grasp on it; I understand what makes me anxious and why. And, because of this, while anxious much for the time, I’m still fulfilled and my anxiety is under control.

Well, it was under control until I realized how many days were remaining until I’m set to leave. The worst part is, I’m not even sure what I’m anxious about, which is making me even more anxious. I’m anxious about being anxious. Which, I assure you, is not a lovely cyclical agony to be stuck in. 

I’m a planner. So, I thought, maybe planning everything out would help. I could make lists, read blogs, go on Pinterest and figure out what I need to do and prepare. I’ve now realized though, I have NO idea what I’ve even preparing for. I’m going to a city where it rains every day, but is also 40+C every day, and also has 100% humidity every day. My thighs touch, all of the time. I just can’t see this ending well. This is the type of environment which the locals have coined “gringo killing weather”. So basically I’m preparing my demise. Perfect. 

Also, I’m nearly positive everything will make me sick so I’ve been trying to plan for that too. I have a water bottle with a special filter and enough Imodium, Pepto, Gravol, and Tylenol to supply a small village. But just today, when I was expressing all of this to a friend she asked, did you get Benadryl?! No, of course I didn’t, but I’m currently zipping up my coat for another trip to the pharmacy. How did I turn into one of ‘those’ people? I’m usually the one making fun of Aaron for packing too many pairs of shoes but here I am running a portable hospital out of my backpack. 

My Mom called me yesterday because she “thought of something”. I should preface this by mentioning she has already, very thoughtfully, created a custom first aid kit for me (maybe this is where my anxiety is stemming from?). She tells me she was having lunch with a friend and they were discussing my travels. While talking they decided that I should ask my doctor for an epi-pen. At first glance, not a bad idea, right? But then some logic started to seep through my anxiety-riddled mind and I stated, “I’ve made it through 35 years of my life not having an anaphylactic reaction to anything. I don’t currently carry an epi-pen around ‘just in case’, it seems absurd to get one now as a precaution.” My response sounded well-thought out, very stable. I didn’t bother to mention my rather large collection of over-the-counter medications I have hoarded for this trip, but I don’t think that would have helped my point. 

Prior to this trip my biggest travel concerns were which books to pack and how I would deal with my inability to run away if the person beside me on the airplane vomited. This round though, I’m concerned about the weather which is unfathomable to a Saskatchewan girl’s mind. I’m worried about whether my portions of anti-expelling-bodily-fluids medications will be enough to get me through my travels. I’m anxious about botflies, because there truly isn’t anything else in Amazon that gives me goosebumps more than those disgusting little creatures. And I haven’t even begun to list all of the normal travel stressors like not being able to fluently speak the language, or missing my husband and our pets terribly, not knowing what photography gear to take, or choosing the wrong underwear for the climate. 

I’ve been preparing for this trip since I was three years old, but I’ve never felt so unprepared for anything in my entire life. 

Photo by Marco Marques on Unsplash

7 thoughts on “Travelling Anxieties

  1. Ali just remember the serated blade on the Leatherman will cut an animal jugular faster than the plain blade. And bot flies are trainable. Lol love dad.

  2. Ok cut back on the first aide kit, (epi pen) and honestly bot flies hate duct tape. LOL, you are so prepared and well organized so don’t worry, you’ve got this <3

  3. The inside of my thighs rub together … they always have. Have you tried Jockey Skimmies The Bay carries them? Also online thighsociety.com sells skimmies.

    I think anxiety is more common than most of is want to admit.

    As my wise friend … says 3 Deep breaths will help calm the parasympathetic system.

    Quickly recalling all my dreams … because dreams come true … even some that were dreamt 30+ years ago. ❤️

    1. I haven’t tried the Jockey Skimmies yet but need to head to the mall here before I leave so I’ll definitely stop by The Bay to check them out, thank you for your recommendation!

      Isn’t that the truth about anxiety! I love the ‘box’ breathing. Breathe in for the count of four, hold for four, breathe out for four, hold for four. It really does wonders!

  4. Ali I have a suggestion.

    Have you ever heard of the term “pre-paving”. It is quite simply picturing or thinking or imagining an experience the way you WANT it to be before you get to it. It isn’t a “fix” for anxiety but you can even do it while the anxiety has a hold on you. You could also use your creative power of writing to write how you want your Amazon rainforest experience to be.

    It is feeling all the anxiety you have then saying, “okay I know what anxiety thinks and feels like now I want to know or hear or see what my 3-year-old self dreamed or saw”. That is going to be my reality. And see it all clearly the way you want it to be. When the fear or anxiety surfaces again and it most likely will. Say to yourself ok I know the story that anxiety tells and I’m ready to try a different or new one that is FEELS SO MUCH BETTER FOR ME.

    1. I haven’t heard of “pre-paving” but I love the sounds of it! I learned a lot about cognitive behavior techniques shortly after I was diagnosed with anxiety and feel some of what I learned was along these same lines so these ideas sound and feel somewhat familiar already. I really like the idea of “pre-paving”, thank you so much for your suggestion!

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