5 Anxieties of Travel (and Some Horror Stories)

I absolutely love travel. Just the thought of going to a new State or Country sends a rush of adrenaline coursing through my veins at all the countless adventures awaiting to be had; however, if you’re an avid traveler like myself, then you know the thrills/anxieties that accompany the adventure. I’m not talking about the thrill of taking that first step onto or off of the plane, either. I’m talking about those heart pounding moments of panic we’ve all had at one point or another.

1.) Almost Missing That Connecting Flight

Alright, this is a fairly recent story of mine, but I’ve had this happen to me a handful of times. I’ll get on my plane, something will happen (something usually always happens), and then I’ll start wondering about my connecting flight. Low and behold, by the time I land, there’s twenty minutes until the doors close and I’m on the other side of the airport.

The most recent occurrence of this was when I was traveling to Arkansas with my parents. We had to sprint across the airport in Chicago, which was no easy feat with masks inhibiting our breathing ability. It also didn’t help that my step-mother’s hip went out at one point, so here she is, behind my dad and I, getting all these weird stares; let me tell you, it was quite the interesting experience. While we laughed the entire time, man were our hearts racing thinking we’d miss the connection. Thankfully, we made it with a few minutes to spare.

2.) Your Flight Getting Delayed Until The Next Day

This has, thankfully, only happened to me once, but I will never forget it. I was in Maine, trying to get home for Christmas Break, and of course there was a snowstorm roaring outside. We’re talking gusts of wind, flakes dropping from the sky, coating everything in their deadly beauty, and temperatures that bring a chill down my spine just thinking about it. So it delayed the flight that was supposed to leave at 8pm until 11am the next morning. Not a big deal, right? I could just drive back to the dorms and return in the morning. Easy peasy.

Nope. Not at all.

My roommate had given me a lift to the airport, and after they’d dropped me off, they went on their way home for the winter vacation. So, I couldn’t call them back, especially not in the storm; driving was too dangerous. Also, even if I’d had a way out, there was nowhere for me to stay since the dorms had closed at 6 that day. 

Alright, then I could just stay at the hotel connected to the airport, right?

Non. Je ne pouvais pas. 

The hotel was outrageously expensive for a single night, and as a broke college student, wasn’t an option.

Safe to say, I had an interesting night sleeping in the airport, using my bag as a pillow and jacket as a blanket. I’ll be better prepared for it next time.

3.) Encounters While Traveling By Bus

I don’t do this often, but it’s a good way to save money and get to cool places. Keep in mind, though, that it’s not quick.

There was this one time I wanted to go home for Thanksgiving, but I was in a position where every cent counted; this was way back, when I was still trying to get in-state tuition (in Maine) and residency for University. A flight was way too expensive, but I was craving my family, so I booked a round-trip Greyhound bus.

My first bus (I had 3 connections) had no internet, and the power outlets didn’t work. I wasn’t too worried about this since it left at 4am and I had plans to sleep until we arrived at the next connection, but the second one didn’t have internet either; and, yet again, no power. It also got delayed by a few hours, and the terminal was terrifying. I don’t remember where the connection was, but there was this one person who kept following me around, asking for cash (note: I rarely carry cash on me anyway, because I have my card. I learned my lesson in Japan, where most places only took cash). Safe to say, I was relieved to get on the bus, only to find out it had to pull over at the nearest stop about an hour in because one wiper wasn’t working (this was a problem since it was pouring buckets). It was cold, wet, and getting darker by the minute. When the new bus finally arrived (about an hour later) I was dead tired and just wanted to sleep the rest of the way home; sleep was not in the cards, unfortunately, because there was a screaming, crying, kicking kid sitting in front of me that I believe was ten-years-old. No sleep was had that night, and my first experience on a Greyhound bus was a nightmare.

4.) Getting Delayed On The Way to the Airport and Rushing Through Security

Okay, security is enough of a panic as is. I always feel like I have to rush when I go through, maybe it’s just the general atmosphere of intimidation and a line behind me, but it’s a no go for anxiety. Add in the worry about getting to your flight in time, and you can go ahead and check off anxiety on your packing list, because sure enough, it’s coming along for your plane ride.

There was one time I thought I had a ton of time to get to my flight. There was still an hour and a half before they even started boarding, and I’d gotten in and out of check-in like a breeze. My panic spiked when I saw this huge, weaving line at security that had my heart jumping into my throat and toes curling in my shoes. I stood in that line, periodically checking my flight and the time, counting down every minute. I made it, but man was I worried.

5.) The First International Flight Alone

For me, this was my flight to Japan. I was excited, eager, rearing to go, all that jazz, but nothing could prepare me for the constant nagging that something would happen. Thank god nothing did. Everything went smoothly from LA to Tokyo, though I do have a story for the customs area in Japan. That’s for another post, another time. Bottom line, nothing can prepare you for that first trip across the sea, but it’s 100% an adventure worth taking.

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