My name is Karl, and I’m an anxious adventurer.
Looking back, I think I’ve always lived with anxiety but I was formally diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder in 2012. If you met me, it’s not likely you’d leave thinking I’d been nervous or anxious at all. Like many, I’ve grown very good at appearing confident and self assured. Inside, it’s more like a hurricane of negative thoughts, catastrophising and overthinking.
I know from first hand experience that travel, if done well, can be relaxing, rejuvenating, inspiring, life affirming, regenerating…some many awesome adverbs! After travelling like this, you return to life with renewed perspective and equipped to conquer the universe.
I have also had travel experiences that were stressful, uncomfortable, rushed, panicked and unpleasant, leaving me feeling more stressed than I was before I left and generally unwell. Of course some circumstances can’t be avoided, such is the spice of life. Yet I’ve discovered that through a little forward thinking and by having a better understanding of myself, some of this stress can be avoided.
I used to fill my travels with grueling itineraries and barely a moment to spare. I eventually learned I’m not that kind of traveler and to take a more relaxed towards life.
Once when travelling through Turkey, a friend of mine convinced me to join her in some water-sports. When I arrived at the beach, I realized that we were quite literally being tethered to an inflatable on the back of a speed boat with the driver swerving to knock us into the ocean. I thought, with some trepidation “YOLO – Let’s do it”. I came off that inflatable (after clinging on for dear life) twenty minutes later, feeling like I’d been physically assaulted with blistered hands and battered legs. Trust me, I haven’t said YOLO since and I’ve drastically altered my approach to seeing the world.
My travelling ethos is as such:
- Time away from work is precious and you should return to life feeling enriched, relaxed and rejuvenated. Sometimes it’s worth spending more to get this.
- Follow your gut. Eat when you are hungry. Sleep when you are tired. Fancy junk food rather than local delicacies?…Great! Mine’s a veggie burger with a large side of fries.
- Take your time and travel mindfully. I’ll gladly spend hours in a café if the atmosphere is right and I love nothing better than observing locals and watching the world go by.
- It’s ok to leave a city without visiting every church, climbing every building and drinking in every café. Pick the sites you want to prioritise and spend quality time there (my less stress guides can help you with this). You can always return if you miss something.
- Be true to yourself – if you hate crowded noisy places, don’t go to a crowded noisy place. You won’t find me bungee jumping, doing water sports (again), rollercoastering, in a disco or downing shots. Just not my bag
What else should you know:
- I’m both Gluten Intolerant and Vegetarian, which can be problematic while travelling. I keep an eye out for places that cater well to these requirements.
- My partner and travel buddy take turns to pick our holidays and we have very different ideas about what travel should look like. He has certainly broadened my horizons and again has taken me to places I would never have considered.
- We are a gay couple. We don’t usually visit gay resorts but tend to visit places which are gay friendly.
I hope you enjoy reading this and that you feel inspired to see more of our tiny planet. Drop me an email if you have any questions – Karlos@LessStressMoreTravel.com.