There were two subjects at school I could never get a handle on: maths and geography. I didn’t like them, didn’t enjoy them and I couldn’t wrap my head around them.
As the years have gone on, I’ve found ways around maths and the stuff I never really understood, I’ve never had to use. I always keep a calculator handy too, just in case. However, I still have trouble with geography.
Yes, people of the internet. My name’s Kate and I’m geographically challenged.
That’s part one of why I really struggle with travelling. I get confused and disorientated easily. Even coming out of a shop on the high street I can’t figure out which way I was walking. In short, I get lost very, very easily. My internal GPS is broken and there’s no hope of fixing it.
Part two follows on from part one, I don’t like feeling out of control or and I have a fear of the unknown… the same as most people. However, if I plan a route from place A to place B, using a certain mode of transport, at a certain time and then suddenly that route or mode is not available to me, I freeze up. My brain can’t compute. I just have a meltdown.
I suddenly have no control, I have no idea where to go, what to do. I feel lost. So not only do I have a tendency to physically get lost, but I also can, very easily, feel lost mentally too. Then comes, what I can only describe as, an anxiety attack.
Late last year I went on a plane for the first time in around seven years. I got all the way to the airport only to discover that all the cash I had drawn out for taxis, food, spending money, emergencies, I had left on the side, at home, where it was waiting patiently to be put into my purse. Cue the meltdown. Now I was relatively composed. No-one had clocked I was completely blinded by panic. I cried silently into my sleeve whilst my rational side said not to worry and reminded me I had my debit card. I could use that and get some more cash out at the airport. I had pre-paid for the taxi I was in, so really there was no problem, only that I had been a bit of a spanner. BUT NO! My brain couldn’t handle being rational.
The airport was fine. I calmed myself but I still felt sick and was fighting tears. As soon as I could, I leant over to my friend and whispered my dilemma, to which she said, “it’s ok, we can find a cash machine and if worst comes to worst, I’ll lend you some cash whilst we are away.” Don’t ever let me tell you I have crappy friends. Turns out that forgetting money ran in the group. My other friend forgot his entire wallet, so we were lending him dollar all weekend, which I had no problems with. Maybe I’m just a control freak or a perfectionist, but my brain is convinced that rational answers in these situations don’t apply to me.
We flew to Disney earlier this year and me, like an idiot, thought it was a good idea to spilt my money between my hand and hold luggage, so if one went missing I still had some. Yeah, my best gal, who works in travel insurance, gave me a right dressing down about it. Apparently, thats not something you should do. You should keep it all on your person. So heads up guys, don’t let anxiety over being mugged or pick pocketed allow you to invalidate your insurance. I spent the entire flight worrying about it until I got my bag the other end. I won’t be making that mistake again. The train was another story entirely. I was ok because I was with friends who weren’t nearly as worried as me and took control of the situation. Had I been alone though? Meltdown. We got there with only one minor hiccup that did nothing other than make us walk a few meters – I can live with that.
Slowly, I’ll get myself through it, I mean I’ve survived being thrown in to situations that were almost vomit inducing for me, and I didn’t vomit either (just for a bit of TMI.) I survived them – unscathed. There’s hope for this world traveller yet.