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Want to start travelling but scared. help!

Travel Forums General Talk Want to start travelling but scared. help!

1. Posted by Tox (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hi all,
I am 19, and an Australian university student. I really want to travel over the holidays and when i finish uni, but i'm terrified. I've never travelled before, except to the mainland of Australia (I'm from Tasmania). I'm not scared of getting mugged or anything like that, just leaving my home country. I don't really like flying, but if i plan it well i won't have to fly that much. I also have asperger's syndrome, and i read that some kid from the UK with aspergers got stranded in Australia because he was too scared to travel home. I really don't want that to happen to me. I know a lot of people who travel, and they're just like "just do it." but it's not that easy for me. What would you suggest i do? Is it normal to feel like this or am i just being soft?
cheers,
Tox.

oh and sorry about posting this in a completely off topic forum

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Jun-2009, at 20:26 by Tox ]

2. Posted by Derestanne (Budding Member 36 posts) 7y

I had not heard of asperger's syndrome and so I did some research first before replying.

Asperger's is another of those relatively new neurological conditions such as ADD and ADHD which seems to affect mostly children. The list of symptoms is long, but suffice to say the individual can have difficulty with social interactions.

I read that no specific medication has yet been identified for treatment of Asperger's but various antidepressants are being prescribed - And there is no consensus within the medical community as to the cause of Asperger's Syndrome.

CBS News here in the USA ran a piece about children with ADD effectively treated with Neurofeedback Techniques. The problem is this treatment is expensive and Medical Insurance Companies may consider this approach experimental and may not want to pay. Nonetheless, it is a fully professional treatment option.

The bottom line is that attempting to bring your condition fully under control - before you attempt world travel - while that may be possible, it is likely not a practical option with the limited understanding that the conventional medical community has about your condition.

Therefore let me propose to you a "PLAN B" - find yourself one or two travel companions for your desired world trip.

Then, if your condition becomes a problem while you are away from home, you will have someone with you to help you pull yourself together.

Many things in life are more enjoyable when done with others you can trust and World Travel is certainly one of them.

3. Posted by andy11 (Full Member 136 posts) 7y

It's hard to advise. Where are you thinking of traveling too?

4. Posted by Tox (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Thanks for the help, i never thought about travelling with other ppl before. Oh and aspergers doesn't just effect kids, it affects a range of people. There's no cure, but sometimes you have panic attacks etc.

I was thinking of travelling the great cities of the world as i love cities, eg London, Paris, NY, Barcelona, Rome etc.... also like to go to Peru one day.

5. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

I definitely agree with Derestanne about possibly arranging for travel companions with whom you feel comfortable. As long as you make sure they are aware of your disorder, the possible symptoms and triggers, they could be your greatest asset(s). And, you have someone to share in your travel experiences. How far afield you choose to go, your first time out, will also depend on the Asperger's and how often you experience the panic attacks, etc. - especially if you decide to go it alone.

Possibly consider a couple of shorter and less expensive trips to test the waters. Since mainland OZ is the farthest you have ventured so far, what about a Pacific island? Once you are comfortable with the experience, you can branch out into Europe and South America. A Pacific trip could also aid in increasing your comfort level with air travel.

Also, consider carrying a letter of health from your physician, stating you have Asperger's Syndrome. If, for any reason, you do need to seek medical attention, you have formal proof of your condition signed by your doctor. It's just an added layer of (supportive) protection when you tell someone your medical history.

6. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 7y

In the eighties I remember there were houses in London that were rented long-term and used by travelers - mainly Aussies/Kiwis/S. African - with several people having jobs to pay for further trips around Europe and beyond. Sometimes there could be 30 people staying, grabbing floor space where they could, but it was cheap and had a great family atmosphere. People would chip in for rent, phone, meals - and the amazing parties!

I didn't actually stay there - I just worked with one of them and got invited round a lot but if they still exist, I just thought that they might be a bit of a 'base' for the original poster - though I've got the feeling that backpacking hostels have taken over.

I Googled the address, but nothing.

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Jun-2009, at 11:33 by fabyomama ]

7. Posted by MartianTom (Budding Member 37 posts) 7y

Hi Tox,
I'm interested to read that you want to visit cities. I have borderline Asperger's and also have huge amounts of anxiety about travelling - even to somewhere relatively close. Cities, though I also like them, are a nightmare for me and I avoid them as much as possible. I panic in crowds. I also find social situations difficult and do not like to travel with other people for that reason - likewise staying in crowded hostels. It's a hard one. Partly it's the fear of being in unfamiliar places and situations. Generally, though, I've found that once I get to grips with that fear and actually start travelling, I'm okay. The first time I went to the States, back when I was in my 20s, I was literally petrified - the flight, the unfamiliarity, the unknown. It all went fine, though. I was out there for 3 months and travelled all over without a single hitch.

It may be harder with a condition like Asperger's, but it's not impossible. I'm sure you'll be fine.

Good luck with your plans.

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Jun-2009, at 14:25 by MartianTom ]

8. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

Tox - you have a comrade in arms!!! WOOHOO! See, there's always someone who can relate!!!! Enjoy yur travels - wherever they may take you! ;)

9. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

Therefore let me propose to you a "PLAN B" - find yourself one or two travel companions for your desired world trip.

Now that would be a first, a social Aspie !

I've got a very mild form of Asperger's so I know a bit about the condition. As a rule Aspie's don't connect well with people. Travelling the world with 2 travel companions would be living hell for me unless I knew them very very well (like my sister or such, and even then I would think twice about it).

The things I am most afraid of are getting hurt (as in having an accident) and dogs. I don't know what it is about dogs, but they and I are at war. Dogs terrify me, some days I wish could feed each and every barking tailwagger in the world a good dose of strychnine. I do have anxiety attacks (about a bunch of things), but I can usually get around them with some tricks. I've never been afraid of going somewhere abroad (thank God) though.

Personally I would say, just get your fear over with. Deal with it rationally: How likely are the chances that something is going to happen to you? Does the risk of being run over by a car increase or decrease by travelling to Europe as compared to staying in Tasmania? How likely are you going to be a victim of a crime in Europe or in Tasmania? There are a bunch of statistics you can look at from that point of view. Once you realise that all these things can happen to you at home just as well as while you are travelling most people are able to relax.

Not much you can do about the flying anxiety, usually it is best to just get your arse to the airport, get on board and knock yourself out with sleeping pills.

The tip about first going to a Pacific Island is a good one, btw. Test the waters there before you fly all the way to London.

Travelling around Europe is pretty easy, but even I have had my days cut out for me when dealing with unexpected situations and a foreign language on top.

I remember a day when I was trying to get from Naples to Rome in Italy. There had been an accident and almost all trains were either delayed or cancelled. By the time I rounded up a conductor who could speak some English I was ready to scream bloody murder. I had my bicycle with me and needed a regional train with a bicycle compartment. But only 1 out of every 4 Eurostar trains was running and no other trains were going. It got later and later and it seemed like I would be stuck in Naples at the train station for the night (not a pleasant thought, it is not a very safe area there). I also fretted about finding a place to sleep in Rome should I be able to get on a train - I knew about a camping site where I wanted to go to, but cycling through Rome after dark with no real map of the city? That was when I had one of my low days, Aspie anxiety combined with a foreign language, a problem I could do nothing about and strangers (the trenitalia staff) being in control of everything.

In the end it worked out alright (it always does). I've found that the best solution sometimes is to sit out a problem. It's just something that can happen and you need to take the good with the bad.

10. Posted by Tox (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Quoting MartianTom

Hi Tox,
I'm interested to read that you want to visit cities. I have borderline Asperger's and also have huge amounts of anxiety about travelling - even to somewhere relatively close. Cities, though I also like them, are a nightmare for me and I avoid them as much as possible. I panic in crowds. I also find social situations difficult and do not like to travel with other people for that reason - likewise staying in crowded hostels. It's a hard one. Partly it's the fear of being in unfamiliar places and situations. Generally, though, I've found that once I get to grips with that fear and actually start travelling, I'm okay. The first time I went to the States, back when I was in my 20s, I was literally petrified - the flight, the unfamiliarity, the unknown. It all went fine, though. I was out there for 3 months and travelled all over without a single hitch.

Hi Martian Tom,
I love cities, and crowds, providing i don't have to speak to anyone in them. I find being in an unfamiliar city is easier than an unfamiliar country side or whatever, because i find cities absolutely facinating. It's weird. I'm sure though once i get over the initial fear of going somewhere different etc i will be ok, but saying that, its a big fear to get over
Going to a pacific island first, or new zealand or something may help though.

You guys have all been very helpful, i feel much better after coming on here and talking about it. Thanks :)