I can’t believe it’s November already. We returned home from our overseas trip early October, and the month flew by. I’m happy to report our vacation was incredible! Read here about my anxiety before leaving. Our main reason for going out of the country was to attend our niece’s wedding, outside of London. And, because Ireland is so close, we decided to visit there too.
When my husband, two daughters, and I boarded the plane, I relaxed. We prepared as much as we could, and off we went. Ireland and England are amazingly beautiful countries, and the people are equally as amazing.
Everything went smoothly. But there were several occasions when I actually paused to be grateful my anxiety is under control. There were a few times I could’ve been sent into full blown panic.
The first was when we rented a car outside of Dublin for our trek into the Irish countryside. My husband drove, I refused. We were on the
wrong opposite side of the road, the driver’s seat is on a different side, and the roads were narrow. For the first half hour, my knuckles were white from holding on. It took all I had not to yell at my husband, worried he’d hit the wall on my side, or another car. I knew that would make it much worse for him, so I hid my fear. Our daughters were in the back seat, rooting their dad on. Thank goodness Talee is great with directions. She was the one holding the GPS. I was too nervous for that job.
The worst part was the roundabouts. We don’t have those where we live. Well, one I can think of, but it’s in a town that’s an hour away. It was scary to be on the opposite side of the road, going the opposite way, trying to decide which exit to take. Yikes! After a couple of days, my husband expertly navigated through them.
Western Ireland was gorgeous, so lush and green. I couldn’t get enough of those old, picturesque castles. It was just how I pictured it from the movies. My family laughed at how many pictures I took of sheep and cows roaming the unending meadows.
We found some caves to explore, and took a half hour tour of one of them. Our group of fifteen tourists walked single file through the depths of the damp, cold cavern. Before we stepped in, I didn’t even think how this could give me the feeling of claustrophobia.
About half way, the guide stopped us so she could explain how the cave was discovered. All those years ago, there were no flashlights. They used candles. If water soaked the candles and matches, it obviously would be a huge problem. The guide wanted us to experience how dark it could get. She asked if everyone was alright if she turned off all the lights. She suggested the kids hold their parent’s hands.
Okay, this might be scary. I held onto my husband, who was right next to me. The dim recessed lights that helped us find our way through the twists and turns of the cave, went out. It was pitch dark. I mean, pitch dark. I’d never been in a such a dark place, literally. I blinked my eyes, thinking they’d adjust. The guide said our eyes would never adjust, and after hours and days in that darkness, one would begin to hallucinate.
I shut my eyes because the blackness started to freak me out. My heart pounded and it felt like I could get frantic. It had only been a minute, at most, but seemed longer. Just when I thought I couldn’t stand it anymore, the lights came back on. Phew.
Flash forward to England. The last night of our trip was the start of the Rugby World Cup, hosted by England. We were with a large group of family and friends and thought it’d be fun to watch the game in a pub. We went to one in south London. What a great experience! There was so much pride in the country, which was awesome. Unfortunately, England lost the game.
We got out of the crowded pub and started to head back to our hotel. The quickest mode of transportation was the tube. We don’t have tubes where we live. I’ve been on subways, but just a few times.
The pub we were at was only a mile from the rugby stadium. Throngs of people (including upset fans who’d had too much to drink) were trying to get on the tube. Once we were finally on, it was standing room only. We were squeezed together and could hardly move. I was smack in the middle. If this were years ago, I would’ve had a panic attack.
On all of these occasions, I reminded myself how far I’ve come. I was in situations that I was able to note my anxiety and take control of it. I don’t take this for granted. I realize how difficult it would be to travel if fear consumed me, like it used to.
My husband and I love to travel. I don’t ever want to stop discovering new places, and exploring the world with him.
Being able to do that without anxiety? Priceless.