I don’t want to lie but It can be overwhelming and scary. After almost one year I took my suitcases and decided to go for a workshop in Croatia. My first trip since COVID-19 happened. But, I wanted to. I knew If I keep postponing traveling, the fear will become bigger.
When I arrived at the airport, my body started to shake and I was able to hear my heartbeat. I’ve already bought the ticket and paid for accommodation. Since I am a psychologist I knew that I am passing through some kind of panic and anxiety attack but the voice in my head was saying ‘’You’ve got this!’’
I didn’t travel for a long time, I didn’t even see a crowd for almost a year. I knew what are my resources. I used the techniques that I’ve learned. I teach my clients those techniques but It is always easier to help someone else than yourself.
I was grounded, I put focus on my feet try to feel them, squeeze them. With the sentence’’ I am here’’, I was helping myself to stay present.
Breathing is another resource that we have but very often we forget that breathing doesn’t mean that we are alive, It can heal and calm us down. So, I moved the focus from my feet to my breath. ‘’I am alive’’ those words helped me to connect with myself. One more tip, If you got scared and you feel that fear is overwhelming you, you can put fingers on your neck and feel your heartbeat. That is helping us to connect with our bodies. Often in stressful and scary situations, we are ‘’not in our body’’, we are in our mind, surrounded with all our thoughts.
After I passed passport control and entered in the plane with a mask, I was lucky to sit next to the window.
The sit next to the window is for me like a present, I love to enjoy the view, see the clouds, watch the landscapes.
When I landed in Split, Croatia, I prepared all the documents- PCR, Passport, written reason why I am entering the country, etc.
Everything passed very well but after the plane, I needed to take a boat and ride with it for around 3 hours. Again, the fear showed up, and as well sadness, I was asking myself ‘’Is it possible that you’ve been someone who use to love traveling and travel at least once a month, what happened with you Milica?’’
I entered the boat and started to cry. I felt relaxed, relieved. I was sitting on the boat and watched the birds, the sea. ‘’I’ve made it’’.
I arrived at the Hvar island and my friend was waiting for me. I hugged her so strongly.
Before COVID-19 this story will be a boring, normal story, but after COVID-19 this is a little win for me. I’ve made it. It was overwhelming and scary from time to time, but we use to live like this and soon my system (body, mind, soul) get used to it quickly. Fear was gone. I was able to feel again happiness and calmness.
I was on the island Hvar because I attended summer workshop about Vitality. I am currently studying body-oriented psychotherapy and as part of the education, I should attend workshop about vitality. It was transformational experience and It helped me to connect with myself, my soul on deeper level.
I came back from Croatia a few days ago, and in 7 days I am going to Paris.
I’ve decided to back to reality to let myself live, feel and love everything that I use to love before COVID-19. I didn’t let the fear break me.
My 5 tips on how to overcome fear when traveling after COVID-19:
- Be present- feel your body, feel your feet, you are here and you are safe.
- Breathe- Breathing is the most important resource we have as humans, It makes us alive but It as well helps us connect with ourselves and calm ourselves down.
- Take a few seconds to remember how many times you thought It’s impossible to do something and you made it, you survived.
- Gratefulness- you have the opportunity to travel and after COVID-19 we can, even more, understand that is a blessing and a gift.
- The reason- Why are you traveling, where are you going, how many days you’ll stay, why are you excited? Answer those questions and when you feel stressed or scared remind yourself why are traveling.
Finally, If you feel like this is so hard and you are overwhelmed with emotions, feel free to contact someone with whom you can speak, someone who is your support. It can be a family member, partner, friend, co-worker, or expert. It’s not a shame to feel stressed or scared, we are all humans and those things are natural. But, It is important to seek for professional help when you need it.
Have a nice trip!