We are all on a spectrum of introversion and extroversion. We all need some quiet time and time for oneself (even extroverts!) but some of us need more of it. It doesn’t mean we should stay home and keep to ourselves.
Don’t let anxiety hold you back and the fear of the unknown prevent you from exploring the world. Plan accordingly and be prepared, but remember, most times the unexpected adventures are the most memorable, exciting, fun and rewarding. So don’t forget to go with the flow and trust yourselves. Here are 10 tips to help you on your travels.
1. Nothing is a must
Even if there’s a place or an attraction everyone goes to and visits, you don’t “have” to do it too. Finding a nice local park or cafe, and sitting there, watching people, is experiencing the actual place and culture. This can be a very interesting experience.
2. Plan ahead
If there are situations you know will stress you, like traveling in rush hour, avoid it and leave an hour later or before. If needed buy tickets for transport and attractions ahead of time so you can enjoy a more comfortable seat or a less busy hour.
3. Don’t stop taking your regular Meds!
If you are subscribed psychiatric medication you’re taking on a regular basis don’t stop taking them while traveling. Especially not cold cut. Make sure you take enough with you for the whole time period plus extra for unexpected schedule changes. If you are adamant to stop your Meds before traveling (not recommended) do it slowly and gradually with supervision and a support network.
4. Stay at recommended Hostels
Opt for sleeping in dorm rooms, it’s cheaper and a great opportunity to meet people. If you are uncomfortable in your dorm don’t be embarrassed to ask to change it! Usually, that’s not a problem. Hostels also usually have a common area for guests to hang out, and organized activities you can join. Many people are traveling alone and would like a partner for a day trip, clubbing or a meal out. It’s a great way to practice your small talk and make new friends.
5. Make plans with people before leaving
Join hospitality services such as Couchsurfing or social media groups of travelers and locals in the country you’re traveling to. You can check out events ahead and make plans accordingly. If you’re meeting someone from a site do it in a public place and take care.
6. Talk to your family and friends at home
Have a support system you know, trust and keep in touch with. The people that know you best can calm you down and guide you.
7. Take music and a book
That way you can always take a break and relax.
8. Arrange wi-fi
If you know you get confused, lost or anxious while trying to find the right way, don’t depend only on free wi-fi. Buy a cheap sim card when you arrive or make sure to get an international internet plan before you leave.
9. Have mantras
Download a DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy) app or a nice guided meditation. You can print a page with relaxing mantras or instructions for self-calming and read it when anxiety starts to rise. Keep it handy in your wallet.
Try smiling even when you feel like crying. It was proven that even a fake smile induces a feeling of joy and makes the happy endorphins flow.
– By Millie Nahum // Master student in mental health