My palms sweat, my heart races and my stomach feels like a hot tub with all its jets on. My brain is simultaneously fixated on finding a place where I can safely throw up and holding steadfast against my gag reflex.
These feelings seem to come up every time I travel, but I refuse to allow them to prevent me from seeing new places, learning about new cultures and trying new cuisines.
The most prominent feeling, which rears its ugly head without fail, is that of nausea. Whether we travel by bus, boat or airplane, no mode of transportation is immune to my overpowering motion sickness. Even the relaxing sway of a hammock turns my stomach upside down!
Despite the fact that it would be easier on my digestive system to stay sedentary and prevent all future use of barf bags, I still force myself to travel and experience new corners of the world. It’s worth it!
Even when those far-reaching places on earth are situated high above sea-level, I journey onwards. You see, I’m also one of the 20% of people susceptible to altitude sickness. We discovered this ailment during our overnight visit to Everest Base Camp in Tibet.
Spending those 18 hours or so at the base of one of the world’s most majestic mountains, I succumbed to my headache, the feelings of nausea and general lack of strength. On that trip, I fell victim to: The Everest Mistake.
I found it impossible to look past my physical discomfort and I didn’t allow myself the opportunity to enjoy the amazing aspects of the experience. From that day on, I vowed that I would never make The Everest Mistake again. No matter where I travel, I now understand that the physical pain and unpleasantness are only temporary, and that my goal is to see the beauty in spite of it.
Fear of Flying
The last aspect that I will not allow me to stop traveling is my fear of flying, also known as pteromerhanophobia. It sounds like I should be afraid of flighted dinosaurs, rather than taking the safest mode of transportation available. As with many fears, this is not rooted in anything logical. I can’t explain why my breathing becomes shallow, my heart pounds in my chest and my mind replays Hollywood movies of plane crashes, when I buckle in to my aisle seat.
I wasn’t always terrified to fly the friendly skies, but rather, it’s a fear that developed suddenly in my mid-twenties. In the decade since, I’ve been forcing myself to continue boarding planes and the fear is slowly subsiding.
Fear, pain and motion sickness, when combined is strong enough to bring anyone to their knees. For me, though, the pleasure of traveling drives me to get back on my feet. Not literally, however, as the anti-nauseant medication I take generally knocks me out and keeps me drowsy long after the arduous journey is over.
20 thoughts on “Things I Don’t Let Prevent Me From Traveling”
None of the above applies for me, but time and money (and soon old age) will stop me from traveling. Would love to experience lots of exciting new places.
Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate
Have you tried the scopolamine patches for motion sickness? I’m the type who, if on a ferry for even 30 minutes, I’m in the bathroom vomiting. Yet I’m a diver AND lived on a ship for four months! Had I not discovered the patches, I would never have been able to do the latter (I forgot them on my most recent Keys dive trip and spent the entire day at sea puking off the bow, UGH). Anyway, if you haven’t tried them (they’re prescription), I’m telling you: LIFESAVER.
Also, the more I fly, the more scared I am to fly. How does THAT work (law of probability, I guess?)?
Thanks so much for your comment and your recommendation for the patches. I recently just heard about them, but we couldn’t find the name of them! I will definitely look into getting a prescription for them before our trip to the archipelago of Indonesia!!!
And, me being the logic-minded person I am can appreciate the idea of the law of probability.
Tom @ Waegook Tom
Fear of flying here, too. Like you, it only developed when I was in my twenties. I was fine with planes as a teenager, but then started being absolutely terrified. I flew a lot last year, and the fear has been slowly subsiding – I know now that the first ‘bing’ after take-off means that the flight attendants are free to move around the plane, rather than the pilot telling them that the plane is about to fall out of the sky.
I have a fear of heights, however, and that legitimately prevents me from doing a lot of things. Mountains are a no-no, ditto climbing extremely steep steps (coming down is the worst) without a substantial pay-off when I reach the top. Cable cars terrify me, but I’ll take them. It’s not a problem when I’m by myself, but when I’m with other people (“hey! let’s go on the roof of the cathedral!”) it’s a burden for sure.
Thanks for your comment. I’m very familiar with what all the bings mean in a plane. Most frequently, it’s when a passenger requests a flight attendant. The double-bing about 20 minutes out on the descent is when the captain is telling the crew that the plane has called in “within range”. I know all about the “landing chute” and wind shear and much of the science of flight. But that’s logical stuff, and fears are seldom logical. It’s nice to know that there are other die-hard travelers out there that are afraid, too 🙂
I haven’t reached the point of being terrified to fly yet, but there are times when we bounce around now where I feel my palms get sweaty and my heart start to race. It’s like the older I become, the more scared I get! I’ve never had motion sickness, but I am pretty sure I will be investing in those bracelets when I finally head to Pai!
Thanks for your comment, Diana! It seems like the development of a fear of flying is midway through life is a natural (and frequent) occurrence. Oh, and you definitely have to buy the bracelets for your trip to Pai!
It’s important to overcome your fears when travelling to be able to keep going, like my fear for heights for instance, there are still things and activities I choose not to do because of it but there have been occasions so far where I just go for it even if I’m terrified.
Thanks for your comment. In times of being terrified, I often think of a quote by Mark Twain: “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.” It’s a small comfort when I’m shaking in my boots! 🙂
Sebastian | Off The Path
It’s so important to stop being afraid and face your fears… It’s important to know and remember that the feeling of fear is enabling you, not holding you back!
I recently wrote an article about this too. I love this topic!
It’s easier to say “stop being afraid” than to actually stop. You’re right, though. It’s important to face your fears and do that which you are afraid to do in spite of them!
Thanks for your comment 🙂
I see a common thread through these comments — frequent travelers becoming more afraid to fly the more they do it! I have had the same problem. I was a fearless flyer my whole life, and have recently developed quite the anxiety about it. Here’s to us for facing those fears!
I’m actually really surprised at how many gung-ho travelers have a fear of flying! Thanks for your comment 🙂
Don’t like attractions that involve elevators. I avoid them like the plague, yet, I wish I wouldn’t. Went in the underground elevator at Niagara Falls (Canada) and thought it would be the end of me.
Hi! I also can relate to all this! I love being in the mountains, but I have to be prepared for the motion sickness on windy roads and the altitude headaches/nausea if I go above a certain elevation (I have puked in some interesting locales, for sure). All about being prepared! And it is such a relief to learn that I’m not the only one that has developed a fear of flying AFTER years of flying. How strange! Landings now make me nervous every time. But I don’t let any of this stop me from taking road trips and traveling! Glad to hear it’s not stopping you either 🙂
Giselle and Cody
Giselle use to get sick while travelling on boats but has gotten use to it and does not have the problem anymore.
I grew up on the lake so I don’t have that problem at all…..but the road to Pai is not a fun one!! 🙂
Travelling is all about challenging fears and insecurities. I truly believe I grow more as a person with every trip I take.
By the way, I love your blog 🙂 Nice to connect with fellow vegan world hoppers.
Hugs from cold Switzerland!
A few years ago I developed a fear of traveling on the interstate. I did all I could to stay off the interstate and avoid going to big cities with a lot of traffic. I have no idea where it came from. But I’ve found ways to cope, like sitting the back seat, ignoring the sea of cars and semi trucks around me, and read on my Kindle or play a game. I only do this on the interstates. Going down a country road doesn’t bother me. I also won’t turn left at an intersection unless there’s a traffic light. But since we want to travel, in an RV no less, I’ve got to keep finding ways to cope the travel and learning new places.
This is not really a fear and might just be a consequence of age: I used to love setting out solo when I was younger but haven’t travelled that way for a long time, so I’m not sure if I’d still enjoy the challenge. It’s fun to share experiences with someone whose company you enjoy but the big plus for me of going it alone was that it made me talk to strangers – and in the process I shared some unique times with some wonderful people I might not otherwise have met. When you’re in a foreign place with a friend or a group you tend to socialise with those people by default, but enforced interaction with people you don’t know opens up so many new experiences you might miss in the (perceived) safety of the familiar.
I’ve been overseas with family and friends where I wanted to explore a place further or maybe stay a bit longer but the restrictions of compromise often meant going with majority rules – or in some cases just indulging the fears and desires of my travelling companion/s because it was easier to do so. Splitting up for a few hours or a day to indulge individual interests can work but isn’t always practical. Time can really get away from me when I’m engrossed in something/somewhere and to have to cut it short to make a prearranged meet-up can be so disappointing. Spur-of-the-moment is really appealing when there’s no one else to consider… then again it’s great to have some shared memories to relive later, and maybe after all these years of pre-booking and contingency planning I’m kidding myself that I’m still equipped for too much unknown adventure. Geez I hope not though. 🙁
Nicole Rossetti le Strange
I don’t get motion sickness or seasickness or anything of the kind, and I’m far too engrossed in adoring flying to feel any fear… but I am terrified of heights! Being in a ‘plane doesn’t seem to count, and I’m generally OK in caves, where there are no external pointers as to how far from the ground I am but anywhere else, I am a complete wimp. Even the steps down from the big cave at Chiang Dao give me the heebeegeebees! Oh, and those see-through lifts at Maya…. yikes! I have to close my eyes when we’re in them!
I do try to not let it stop me from at least trying things but when I get to the point that I don’t trust myself to stay safe, then I have to say no! I really wish I had no fear of heights, and despite spending years facing it, it doesn’t really get much easier. 🙁