Ever since I had a panic attack at a luggage carousel in an airport when I was 10, travelling has been my least favourite thing. Planes are my greatest travelling fear. Even the thought of passport control, salted peanuts and the surprisingly loud noise the toilet makes when it flushes makes me feel anxious, not to mention the idea of being 40,000ft in the air. Even worse than flying are those people who tell you that flying is actually “the safest form of travel”, this news is not helpful and will probably make me silently resent you for your positive attitude. I have, however, realised that I cannot avoid travelling, my family often need to go abroad for work and the fomo that would come with not joining them is definitely too much to bear. Therefore, I have had to overcome my fear to an extent, silently enduring long haul flights with clenched fists while observing the seemingly excruciating sleeping positions of surrounding passengers and watching the available reality TV shows. Travelling clearly ticks all the anxiety boxes for me and this is why I normally avoid leaving the country. However, I am writing this post because I am currently on a train to France and i’m surprisingly feeling good about the trip so far. Train’s are definitely my favourite way to travel, associated for me with the Christmas film ‘The Polar Express’ and Agatha Christie novels, although hopefully without the murder and just the 1920’s decor. A few months ago when the idea of going to France was proposed it seemed scary, but also manageable and I feel this is definitely progress.
How to dress when travelling is a vital step in getting prepared for the journey ahead, trying to figure out how to look good incase you bump into a handsome stranger on the way, while also trying to achieve optimum comfort for the journey ahead. I’ve found there are many ways to go wrong in the travel outfit department. Hot pants are a definite no, not to mention the obvious wedgie concerns, air conditioning is normally used to its full potential on planes which could result in being uncomfortably cold. This also goes for skirts and dresses which, in addition, pose the problem of not being able to sit with my legs crossed or up without the fear of flashing pink (often animal print) underwear to the entire carriage. For me jeans are the obvious choice, stretchy and comfortable yet they still enable you to look like a functioning member of society, especially on the trip from the station when passers by don’t understand you’ve been travelling and assume your pastel tracksuit is a conscious fashion decision. All black outfits and sunglasses are also a good option and make you feel like a celebrity while simultaneously covering up any under eye bags or signs of crying, although this may cause disappointment when there are no paparazzi crowded outside Heathrow.
Arrival is definitely where peak stress occurs. Airplane landings kind of make me want to cry, bringing the realisation that I am now in another country and that if I want to go home I have to endure the entire journey again. Normally my younger brother begins to feel motion sick at this point, which is when the volume on my headphones is turned up to that level when you know everyone around you can also hear Taylor Swift ‘Blank Space’ but you don’t really care because you are currently functioning in crisis management. Once landed there is also the unwelcome heat that hits as you step off the plane, made even more unbearable by the winter clothes which seemed appropriate for the London weather but now feel suffocating and unnecessary, but are not removed due to being overtired and stressed. Although each journey leaves me with the feeling that i’ve just suffered a trauma, i’ve decided that its a small price to pay for visiting other countries and exploring the world. Although I’m not planning to become a frequent flyer I’m hoping that, like a form of exposure therapy, travelling will become less scary the more I do it, and even if it doesn’t at least I will be able to look foreword to the relief of arriving at my destination and having at least a few days before I have to start stressing about the trip home.