Flying With Broken Wings: ‘An Agoraphobic’s Travel Guide To…’

I’d written off travelling the world as something I could ever realistically do.

At 16 my agoraphobia meant I could barely leave the house. If I did it was a horrendous struggle just to pull through each day, hour, minute, second without having a panic attack. Just attending school each day was an exceptional achievement.

I’ve talked about my experience of agoraphobia in much more detail in a separate post if you’re interested.

Although at 25 I’m free from the condition and have been pushing my boundaries for several years now, undoubtedly my agoraphobia has left a lasting impression on me.

It’s one of the bricks which has built me.

The condition massively limited my ambitions and expectations of myself. I think it is only in the last year that I’ve really smashed through that glass ceiling to see a limitless sky of possibilities for myself.

My mental health always used to make me very wary about going outside of my comfort zone. The idea of going abroad scared me so in the end I tried to convince myself that I didn’t really want to travel anyway.

I’d tell myself that it was just a waste of money that I could be saving for a more practical use. That having a mortgage & savings was infinitely more important.

If I’ve learnt anything in the last year it’s that being true to yourself, pursuing what you want and being happy are the real keys to being ‘successful’. Don’t do what’s expected of you by anyone else. Do what fulfills you emotionally & enjoy your youth.

I’ve discovered in myself a real desire to travel, to experience the world and it now excites me to do things that scare me. I enjoy feeling that fear and growing as a person. My attitude to my anxiety has completely shifted in such a healthy way over the last 10 years.

So recently I took my first flight for 21 years and went to Rome!

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When reflecting on my past experiences of agoraphobia and thinking about how utterly ridiculous travelling would have been to the teenage me, it’s so strange to me how natural it felt.

Not for one second did my anxiety affect me at all.

I’m starting this new series ‘An Agoraphobic’s Travel Guide To…’ to stick two fingers up to how agoraphobia used to make me feel and to show others that you can come through that condition.

Not only can you come through it but you can absolutely thrive without a hint of it affecting your life negatively.

I’ll be sharing my trip to Rome very soon and I’m planning on it being just the start of my adventures conquering Europe and then the world!

Rob

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