Saturday, September 8, 2007

Do's and Don'ts of Traveling with Anxiety: Part 3

For me this is the best thing I did for myself on my business trip to California. If renting a car, DO rent a GPS unit to help you navigate.

I have a lot of anxiety with driving. It took me 3 tries to get my license and it was only due to my parent's pushing me. I was 18 when I finally got it. I had no desire to drive. Sitting in the driver seat nearly gave me panic attacks. I eventually got used to it, but had a hard time on the freeways. So I would drive if I had to but I would avoid freeways as much as I could.

Now I have to drive an hour to work everyday on the freeway. I don't like driving with people in the car with me, and I don't like driving when I don't know how to get there. So anytime I have to drive with others, I actually ask someone else to drive my car so I don't have to deal with the anxiety.

So for me to go to a busy city like San Jose and San Fransisco all by myself and drive everywhere, this caused a lot of panic for me. It was probably what I was the most worried about. When renting the car I added a GPS unit for an addition $8 a day. Doesn't matter how much it would have cost, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Not only did it take away 98% of my anxiety, it gave me a sense of empowerment and confidence. I would be hungry and type in the kind of food I was in the mood for and it would tell me exactly how to get to the closest location. The best part is if you miss a turn, no need to panic! It will recalculate your destination and help you get to where you need to go. I was able to travel to my hotel, 4 different schools, several fast food places, etc. with complete ease even though I had never been there before.

By far the most exhilarating day on my trip was when I had some time to go to San Fransisco to do some sight seeing. Never before would I have dared to drive an hour away to some unknown place all by myself but with my handy Garmin GPS unit, I located the Golden Gate Bridge and set off on my adventure. I drove around downtown San Fransisco on the unbelievable hilly roads with the beautiful scenery. I drove over the Golden Gate bridge twice, ate clam chowder while photographing the bridge, had a wild coyote follow me around, walked along Pier 39 and saw Alcatraz, ship yards, and so many other great things that I will forever remember as a liberating experience. I never would had that experience without the GPS unit. It was so windy and cold that it made taking pictures difficult. Plus there was a fire burning in northern California so the sky was covered in smoke, but it was still very cool.

Now back at home I want to buy one for my personal car to help me get around town better. Maybe I will be more daring to drive around Salt Lake and see some of the great things my home town has to offer.

P.S. For those interested in photography, I still need to edit these photos a bit but I wanted to get the post out.

This post is part of a series. You can read some of my other do's and don'ts here: Part 1, Part 2

If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to The Reality of Anxiety or Add it to Your Technorati Favorites.


ShamWOW! said...

Hello, Aimee.

I'm happy that your trip ended up well. Your suggestions for traveling all make perfect sense.

I recently bought a GPS unit to use on a daily basis, even though I'm living in the city that I grew up in. I've found it to be an invaluable tool to re-route my way around traffic jams, plan itineraries, and determine my ETA to wherever I'm going. The thing has more than paid for itself in gasoline savings, too. I may have grown up here, but Dallas/Fort Worth is a huge metropolis and I can't pretend to be familiar with all of it. And it's nice to know that it'll work anywhere in the world should I ever get a chance to travel. I have the Tom Tom, but I've heard the Garmin's are really good. When combined with a computer they're super, super handy.

Love your photos of San Francisco. That third one of you in front of the bridge...I'm going to email you a different version of that just for kicks.

Again, glad your trip ended up well. That's a big step forward.

Mike said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip. I know from experience that a successful trip like this can really go a long way toward alleviating travel anxiety.

I, too have recently learned of the amazing advantages of traveling with GPS. My wife and I borrowed a Garmin for a trip to Kentucky, and thanks to the Garmin, I was not an anxious, irritable jerk while trying to navigate! A Garmin now sits alone at the top of my Christmas list!

Anonymous said...

Traveling is an act that can be very difficult with people suffering from anxiety. Your advise are very good indeed.

Armand Rousso

Aimée said...


I am glad you have one. If I did all the driving you do it would be a necessity!

I hope Santa is nice to you this year! I am hoping to get one for my birthday in a couple weeks. We'll see, cross your fingers for me!

Welcome to the blog! I am glad you found some useful advise, thats exactly what I hope I am giving! Hope to hear from you again soon!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...