Facing a travel down and anxiety while traveling

travel story

Facing a travel down and anxiety while traveling

The first three months of our worldtrip ran by quite smoothly, we experienced a lot, made tons of memories, had wonderful and incountable „Wow“-moments, visited five different countries (Namibia, Qatar, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand) and stayed in about 40 different places. After three months of traveling I started feeling insecure and tired, anxious and stressed. In the beginning I thought it was just the normal „travel-down“ I’ve heard of from other travelers. It can happen, when you’ve experienced much and couldn’t take the time to process it.


I gave myself time and tried to be patient. I was sure, those anxious, sad and stressed feelings would go away and I would feel better in Malaysia, where we had planned to stay in one place for almost two weeks, to get work done, to do some homeschooling with Sophia, to settle and process all the adventures we had experienced.

Thanks for the pic to Martin Heuberger

But after only two days in our two-week-Malaysian-homebase I got a bad flu and instead of feeling better, the depressed feeling got worse. It was the time when the first Covid-19 cases got public.

Unfortunately I always had the tendency to be very anxious when it comes to health topics, especially when not at home. So, of course I was not only worried about having the dengue fever but also the Covid-19.

Luckily the test results at the hospital came back negative (big shout-out to our travelinsurance World Nomads for the quick and helpful support!). But even after recovering from the flu my fears didn’t go away, instead they got worse. I began to have difficulties breathing, I felt sad and depressed and it was like falling into a hole.

How did it feel?

Spotted in our Hostel ‘Murals Mactan’, Cebu, Philippines. How fitting.

So, how did I /it feel like the last six weeks? We saw so many beautiful spots and places in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. But I couldn’t feel them. Instead I felt like having an invisible wall around me. A wall that didn’t let me breathe, that didn’t let through that wonderful feeling of being impressed and touched by something. The beauty, the country, the beaches, our kids playing in the sand for hours, stunning sunsets, new places I’ve been looking forward to for months … All of that didn’t touch me. It didn’t get through. Instead I cried. Every day and for no obvious reason. Or better said, because of that heavy, inexplicable feeling inside of me.

Traveling on a budget

Ruin of a house right next to the sea
Traveling on a budget 😉

Everytime I felt a spark of an emotional uplift at one of these beautiful places, the slightest disturbance or anything that turned out differently than expected directly pulled me back into my hole. And believe me, travelling on a budget in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines with kids, such disturbances happen rather frequently. I had just lost the flexibility it needs to really enjoy those destinations.

At the same time I felt bad because I knew I should be thankful for the opportunity to travel the world with my family. Thankful for the support from my family and friends back home. And I am thankful. And sad. I can’t describe that ambivalent feeling.

I think it’s important to talk about this. Yes, maybe I’m the only person, who struggled with that kind of depressive feelings while traveling. But if there’s only one person, who reads this and feels (or felt) the same, maybe it’s good to know, that you’re not alone. And that could be the first step to getting better.

Feels like I’m on the right path

I’m working on my way out of that deep hole. I’m figuring out strategies that could work for ME. And right now I‘m feeling better and it FEELS like I’m on the right path. Eventhough we are in Korea, a destination we had really been looking forward to, and the Corona virus aka. CoVid-19 aka SARS-CoV2 lingers around every corner waiting to feed my anxiety.

We had made our travel arrangements and bookings for South Korea and Japan a while ago already. Probably at this point we wouldn’t have booked a flight to South Korea and we thought a lot about whether canceling the trip or not. But in the end we decided to go, because the situation in Seoul seemed relatively stable. and we had planned to only stay in the capital anyways.

Since our time in Malaysia we have considered to disrupt or abandon our trip and go home on several occasions. We got a travel insurance that covers this option in a variety of events. However, as Japan and Hawaii are the two core destinations of our journey, as they had actually inspired us to pull the whole thing off, we decided to go on and hope everything goes well as expected. Because sometimes hope is all you have to fight your anxiety.

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