What if my luggage is too big or my flight’s cancelled? What if I get lost or something gets stolen? What if I run out of money or I get injured? When you sit and think about it there’s a lot that can go wrong when you travel. Which is why it’s not surprising when pre-travel nerves hit.
I think we’re all capable of being anxious about the unknown and unfamiliar and I also think it’s very common to be. That’s why pre-travel nerves are nothing to be ashamed of.
I’m going to start this by saying I am not, by any definition, an expert traveller. In fact, outside of school trips and family holidays, there are very few places I’ve properly travelled to.
On top of all this, I am very much a worrier. I get very anxious about the unknown and in particular the what ifs. It’s something I’m definitely trying to work on but for the moment at least it’s quite a big part of me.
So that brings me to today. Today is exactly 4 weeks before I start my European interrail adventure. (You can read more about that here and here.) And although I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am, there’s a big part of me that’s incredibly anxious about the whole thing.
I’m hoping by sharing this not only will it help make me feel a bit better but, if you’re feeling the same way, it might make you feel better about it too.
A couple of days ago I spent a good hour and a bit of my life checking and double checking the baggage allowance of the airlines we’re flying with. It didn’t really help.
Flying is definitely what makes me the most anxious about the whole trip. I’ve never been very good with the actual aeroplane bit. I used to have to sit next to my mum and squeeze her hand until she lost all circulation in it. (Sorry about that mum!)
Nowadays even the airport part is a stressor for me. All this coming from a girl who flew across the country every other month for two years of her life…
Airports will always make me anxious but I’m okay with that because I’ve learnt how to deal with it. Flying is a means to an end and I as long as I keep reminding myself of that I’m usually okay. It’s fine if airports make you nervous – I can’t think they’re anyone’s favourite places, but at least you know what to expect.
When it comes to everything to do with inter-railing however, I do not know what to expect. Part of me loves that – excited for new experiences and adventures – the other part is completely terrified.
I’ve never really stayed in hostels before. And when I have it’s been with a big group of mates and we’ve been the only ones in the dorm. It’s hard to know what to expect when you’ve not really had an experience to compare it to.
The thing I’m most nervous about it’s that people we meet we’ll think that as a couple travelling together we’ll just want to keep to ourselves. That we’ll be all over each other and so they’ll keep their distance.
Because that couldn’t be farther from the truth. One of the things I’m most excited about is meeting other people along the way. Let’s be honest, if I only had Mark to talk to for 6 weeks straight I think I might go a bit insane!
I think the other thing that’s getting to me the most is all the actual travelling I’ve got to do. I do know that sounds slightly ridiculous. I’m used to staying in one place on holiday – once I get there I know I can relax because that’s it until I need to go home.
Interrailing is the exact opposite. What happens if a train gets cancelled or delayed or we miss it? If I don’t understand foreign train stations and can’t figure out where I need to be?
But I’m guessing they’re all pretty normal thoughts. No one wants things to go wrong so it’s okay to be nervous about it happening. I just keep telling myself in all my years of train travel nothing has happened that I could not handle. That and keep my fingers crossed everything will go smoothly.
At this point, I could keep going on about all the things that are making me anxious.
Night trains. Strange food. Getting ill. And so on.
But you probably get it by now.
Like really nervous.
But that’s okay.
Humans are almost programmed to fear the unknown. To be worried and stressed about it. So if you share in my feelings then that’s pretty normal. It’s all part of our biology.
When I started this post (and to make myself feel a little better) I ran a Twitter poll. 82% said they’ve experienced pre-travel nerves before. 44% said they experience it before almost every trip.
It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
And much like why I’m writing this post – a problem shared is a problem halved. I’m also hoping for a little reassurance that none of my worries are likely to come true.
Because honestly, I know they’re not likely to happen. But that doesn’t make me any less nervous in case I’m the unlucky one who it does happen to.
Travelling is not always easy. As cliché as it sounds, if it was easy everyone would be doing it. So, if you’re like me and are sat at home before a big trip (or even a small one) feeling nervous about the whole thing then that is nothing to be ashamed of.
And if you are feeling a bit worried feel free to come chat to me – we can worry together! Or if you happen to be one of these mysterious people who doesn’t get nervous please tell us your secrets!
I would love to hear about your experiences of pre-travel nerves. What you do to overcome them, any of your best advice. Or equally, I’m always dying for more interrail tips and advice so share those too!
All my love,