You'd think preparing to go away would get easier with experience. That those sneaky pre-departure jitters would be a thing of the past.
That I would just nonchalantly say, "What, I'm just casually jetting off to Colombia for 6 months, that's all." *said in painfully pretentious Gap Yah-esque voice*
But time and time again, the anxiety and anticipation gets too much.
Even though I'm going back to Colombia (I'M GOING BACK TO COLOMBIA) and I'm going back to Medellín, both places I am very, very familiar with, have friends there and know what the deal is.
It is still exactly the same routine.
I lose sleep.
I become an uber bitch.
And when I'm normally able to keep cool(ish) as a cucumber, I'm a big, massive neurotic mess before I'm about to jet off somewhere new.
I can't exactly stop the nerves - that's completely natural and to be honest, if I was completely blasé about going off to the opposite side of the world, that would be a little bit weird.
But stressing out and losing my cool, on the other hand, is not making pre-departure prep any easier and whilst I'm still no expert on staying calm whilst preparing to go abroad, I've learned doing certain things help me keep my cool before I jet off to pastures new.
So here are my tips to get rid of pre-departure nerves:
Have a plan for your first few days away
It's the anticipation, the fear of the unknown that is so nerve-wracking before you go, so sort out a plan before you go for the first few days: have an idea of what immigration and customs is like, sort out your airport transfer, arrange accommodation (hell, maybe even treat yourself for the first night you get there) and if you already have some friends or acquaintances, make contact and see if you can meet up. You can't control everything but at least having an idea of what you've got for the first few plans will put your mind more at ease.
Make a to-do list of all the things you want to do before you go
Make plans with your friends, take your granny out for the day, go to that place you've always been meaning to go to and make sure you do it. You're obviously excited about your foreign adventures that are just around the corner, but making the most of your time at home, whilst they won't make the goodbyes any easier, will make your time at home all the more enjoyable as well as taking your mind off your travel anxiety.
Keep moving, moving
Exercise, for me, is the number one stress buster. Whether it's a massive long run, a leisurely swim or walk or even a cheeky bit of yoga, I find all the lovely feel-good endorphins do wonders to controlling my mood swings. I really try to keep as active as possible as when I haven't exercised in a while, to say I'm a mardy so-and-so is a bit of an understatement.
Don't bottle it up
Keeping your worry and angst bottled up inside is going to do you no favours, so as clichéd as it sounds, talk about it or at least write it down. It is completely natural to feel this way and before you go, the last thing you want to do is self-implode before you set off travelling.
Get ready, get set, GO!
Do not, I repeat, do not leave all of your preparation to the last minute. Leave yourself plenty of time to make sure you've got all the necessary vaccinations, anti-malarials, sort out your travel insurance, print off and get hold of official documents, check your passport has not expired, check if you need any visas and the worst thing of all: packing. Do it slowly but surely and fingers crossed, you won't have any last-minute dramas thanks to your (read:my) diabolical disorganisation.
Being nervous before you go off galavanting around the world is pretty much inevitable but you can make the last few precious days before you all the more easier by using a bit of foresight,organisation and keeping yourself occupied.
All that is left to say is good luck, safe travels and enjoy!
How do you get rid of your travel nerves? Do you have any advice yourself?