Our ‘Top Bloggers’ series continues with Annette White, a travel blogger who has overcome severe anxiety to take on a bucket list like no other.
As many of our travellers are solo (a whopping seventy percent) we want to help alleviate any concerns the nervous solo adventurer may have before joining a holiday for singles. It is natural to be a bit scared to take on new adventures outside your comfort zone, which is why we’ve asked Annette to explain how she overcame anxiety whilst travelling.
Before you overcame severe anxiety, how did this affect your travel plans? –i.e how much travelling did you do?
I had always had big dreams of travelling, but when the time came to actually make concrete plans or go on a trip I would make a hundred excuses as to why I couldn’t go through with it. All the excuses boiled down to me being afraid.
Even when I did manage to make it on a trip (which was rare), the series of “what-ifs?” that invaded my thoughts put a huge damper on the entire experience.
What advice do you have for anyone currently tackling anxiety?
The best advice that I can give is to make you aware that there is help for anxiety, but you have to be willing to take the first step into researching what will work for you.
For me, I realized that my anxiety was caused by my thought process and over active brain. What worked in my case was a program where I learned techniques to retrain my thoughts. By no means was this process easy, but the benefits are totally worth it!
It seems such a dramatic change, you’ve taken on a lot – rappelling down waterfalls, eating all sorts and travelling to very far away places. How did stop yourself from going back to old ways?
By no means has my anxiety completely disappeared, and I do believe that a certain amount of fear is perfectly normal. But, I now have the tools to cope with anxiety producing situations and I put those tool into action when I feel the symptoms coming on.
Describe the most nerve-wracking travel experience you’ve had and how you dealt with it.
One of my most challenging experiences was travelling solo to Africa for a safari because there were so many fears that I had to overcome: flying for over 25 hours, getting several vaccinations, being out in the wilderness with wild animals, etc…
What helped me in this situation was to take each fear on one step at a time, instead of looking at the whole picture. For example, I broke down getting vaccinations into five little steps, because sometimes when you are looking at a goal in its entirety it seems overwhelming. I use this same technique with many of my bucket list goals.
You’ve held up the leaning tower of Pisa, made pasta in an authentic Italian kitchen and explored the canals and bridges of Venice – is there anything else left in Italy on your bucket-list?
Since Italy is such a part of my heritage, my mother was born in Tuscany, my exploration there will never be over. But, high on my Italy bucket list is kiss in a gondola, make a wish in Trevi fountain, hear the Pope speak at the Vatican and drive a Ferrari through the country roads.
Thank you Annette!
If you’d like to read about where in the world Annette is now, head over to her blog to see what she’s up to! An avid traveller, Annette often writes freelance articles whilst travelling the world, covering all topics from food, bucket list travel and anxiety. As well as her award winning blog, she also owns a Michelin recommended restaurant in California.