anxiety, travel, Uncategorized

Helpx In France with Anxiety

I am just about to finish my second home stay Helpx. Helpx is a site where you find hosts to work for in exchange for accommodation and food. There are different types of Helpx including farms, hostels and home stay.

During home stay Helpx you are typically integrated into the hosts daily routine, in essence you become one of the family. On paper it sounds like the perfect situation for travellers. You help around their house or property and in exchange you receive delicious home cooked meals and a sense of family. For people like myself with social anxiety this type of Helpx can became a little stressful.

Social situations drain me. I love to be social and for the most part enjoy myself, but too much will make me irritable. The past two months, have been a slight struggle for me for the following reasons.

  1. Daily meals together– I do love to meet new people and spend the day together or get a beer. However, in France lunch and dinner are a long processes usually between 1-3 hours. Therefore, eating three meals with a new host family was hard to get used to. After spending a day together all I wanted to do was go to bed. Instead I’d be in for another 1-3 hours of conversations. Day after day of spending the day together with long meals time, meant only a couple hours to myself, which for me is not enough time to recharge. To be fair, you do start to get more comfortable with your host family, but two months in and some days I still struggle.
  2. Forced interaction– Recently I’ve realized what I’d compare home stay Helpx too-spending time with extended family. You know when you go to your Aunts or Grandmas for Christmas and you spend countless hours with people you know, but don’t usually spend time with. It consists of polite/forced conversation. I enjoy going to extended family’s for holidays, for about a week, anymore than that and I really, really want to go home.
  3. Unstructured – Another factor that really plays on my social anxiety is the format being a little unstructured. Life never goes as plans, especially in families. I am the type of person in work, that I like to do my work and go home. In this type of environment, it is very hard to do your 4 hours of required work and not feel obligated or guilty to not do more. I am completely aware that I do not have to, but imagine going to your room to rest, with a cousin screaming in the background, or an Aunt/Uncle cleaning or cooking, while your doing nothing. You feel like crap for sitting in your room watching Netflix.
  4. Living with the boss–  I have always struggled with not being complete mess of social awkwardness in front of my bosses. Although, I know I am not supposed to think of my host family as my boss, it is very hard to do. They are still giving me work in exchange for something. So spending the whole day working with your someone who is in charge of you, then having to eat and spend down time with is a very new concept that I have yet to adapt to.

In contrast I have done an Accommodation business Helpx and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a set amount of hours where I would clock in and out, therefore my boss knew how many hour I was doing. There were other Helpx people around, who since are just other workers, I felt comfortable around. I also could go sit in my room for as long as I wanted and didn’t have to worry about anything because I knew I had done my 4 hours and nothing else was expected of me.

travel, Uncategorized

The Anxiety of Coming Home

The first time I came home after travelling, I remember really not wanting to come home. I’d just discovered new friends, new lifestyles and the last thing I wanted to do was go home and be the same. I managed to stay home for a whole 3 weeks. As soon as I got my Working Holiday Visa for Australia I was gone.

Coming home after my year away was very different. I was excited to come home and live my old life again. Of course everything was different. I couldn’t quite place it at first. Besides the obvious things like people getting new jobs, or a new restaurant in town. Things just felt different. I slowly put together, that me and all my friends had reached some sort of new phase in our life. We were all starting to become more like adults. I hated it. It was like hitting 7th grade. No one told me that hormones would hit hard and me and everyone I knew would be completely different. This time everyone was still the same, but we spent more time talking about the old times, then actually make new memories. We weren’t getting black out drunk anymore and doing ridiculous things.

My third time coming home I knew would be different. While I was away, I knew people were getting married, buying houses etc. So I tried to be prepared, but once again it hit me hard. My good friends, had actually starting making new friends. Instead of it being the usual group, all of a sudden there were new people and new groups. I started to stress I wanted to stay home and never leave, so maybe things would never change and go back to how they were.

I’m leaving again for a year and I’m already anxious about coming back. Will everyone have completely moved on. Will I just be the friend people see once a month to remember the good times? I know my friends from home will always be my good friends. I just hope we can stay as close as we once were.


travel, Uncategorized

Travelling with Terror Attacks

Currently sitting in the Auckland airport on a five hour stop-over to get home. My stomach has been killing me all day. At first I thought this pain was from leaving some friends and family behind. Then while I was sitting on the toilette the intercom comes blasting through that there has been a security breach and that passenger screening may be delayed. Of course with all the terror attacks that have been happening my mind obviously goes to worst possible scenario, we’re all going to die.

With my anxiety I have a hard time figuring out if I’m scared of things because of anxiety or if this is a reasonable fear. The past couple weeks I have been watching the news, which I wouldn’t suggest to anyone about to travel. Obviously, it is a good idea to always travel with caution; but what’s too much caution?

My next travel adventure is to France. It’s been my dream to prefect my french and ski the alps. Whenever I tell anyone about my plans, their face goes blank, especially my parents and to be fair I don’t blame them. France seems like a terrifying place to go right now. I’ve decided to not go to any major cities including Paris. When does avoiding places and cities become too much? Eventually it seems like we won’t be able to go anywhere. It is just the media trying to scare and control us? Or should we actually not go to these places.

I also get anxious while watching the news that I have a time limit to see everywhere I want to go before the world ends. I feel like I’m constantly in rush to see and do everything. That is not how I would like to travel.

I hope my fears are just my anxiety and nothing more


Travelling Solo With Social Anxiety

While travelling solo with social anxiety, I have learned that you have to know your limits and what you as a person are comfortable with.

A while ago, I ventured to Barcelona for a solo trip and honestly, it was not favorite trip. I realized I do not like leaving my friendship making to chance. The chance that I might happen to meet someone to spend some time with. At the time I had gone off my medication and my anxiety was high. I was unable to eat in a restaurant alone and often thought everyone was starring at me. I basically spent the whole trip aimlessly walking the streets of Barcelona very uncomfortably. On a positive note I realized a lot about myself and my anxiety.

Barcelona was a huge contrast to travelling solo on a Top Deck tour. I highly recommend using a tour group if you want to travel alone, but have trouble making friends. There is something about being stuck on a bus for hours on end that makes everyone closer.

After working in Fox Glacier for 6 months I wanted to leave, but my partner did not. So once again after 3 years of not travelling alone, I decided to try travelling solo again. I decided I would leave 6 weeks before my boyfriend and try WWOOFing for the first time. From previous experience I knew my limits. I knew I did not want to travel city to city on my own. I wanted to go somewhere where it would be easier for me to make connections and friends.

Currently, I’m sitting on the bus to WWOOFing and I feel exhilarated. This feeling has made me realize I do love to travel solo, but it also scares to me death. I’m hopeful WWOOFing will be a positive experience for me and my anxiety.

travel, Uncategorized

Fox Fever

I recently just finished working in Fox Glacier for six months. Fox is home to 250 people and the nearest town worth mentioning is 3 hours away. I worked in a holiday park outside of the town with 15 other people. This combination along with the constant raining creates a phenomenon call Fox Fever. I’ve learned that people expresses their fever in different ways, including myself. It is especially hard conditions when you have social anxiety.

Taking the job, I thought it would be similar to working and living in a ski resort. Easy to get close to people and even though the job might suck you’ll still have fun. What I’ve learned is that workplace friendships work better when there is a mutual activity. When you are in the middle of no where, with not much to do, but focus on work it might cause Fox Fever.  Different examples of Fox Fever that I have seen include deciding you need to go skydiving that afternoon, scrubbing bath mats for an hour that don’t need to be cleaned and the most toxic case is reverting back to your high school self.

Fox Fever and social anxiety have affected me in a different way. I became obsessed with being friends and included with everyone on the park. If someone didn’t talk to me or smile to me enough that day I assumed they hated me. If I knew people were hanging out in the park without me I became depressed. Why wasn’t I included? What did I do wrong? What I needed to understand was that with only 15 colleagues, groups would form as they do in every workplace, but that it is only more apparent with less people around. You will not be able to get along and hang out with everyone and that’s ok. You can’t expect to get along and hang out with everyone you meet.


Living in a Ski Resort with Social Anxiety

After successfully living and working in a ski resort with social anxiety, I realized I overcame a lot of fears, but also learned the limits of my anxiety. Here’s a list I made that will make anyone with social anxiety feel better if they plan on venturing into the ski bum lifestyle.
1. You will make friends- You will see the same people everywhere. In your kitchen, at your job and on the slopes. You will eventually feel comfortable with 1, maybe even 2 people. And then BAM! You’ve made friends.


2. Some days will be bad- but most of them won’t. There will be times where you feel like everyone hates you, or they are all hanging out with out you, or even worse you’re missing out on everything. There will also be times when your anxiety gets the best of you and insecurity will take over. It will however pass, because in reality you’ re still having fun.

3. Just get through the first week-  The first week is terrible; your stomach hurts, your sweating all the time and your heart won’t stop racing. You will think you’ve made a terrible mistake and the entire season will be worst thing that’s ever happened to you. By the second week your symptoms should have lessened. In the end you will realize this is the best thing you could have done for your anxiety.

4. You don’t have to go out everynight- and you probably shouldn’t. You should always take time to recharge. Congratulate yourself for going out as much as you can, but remember you need time for yourself. If you are drinking every night, you will need a break, otherwise your anxiety will get worse. Therefore, if you feel tired just relax!

5. It’s ok to tell people about your anxiety-  People who generally work at ski resorts for the most part are very open minded people. They will tell you their lives stories and what they’ve been through. If you decide to tell them about your social anxiety, they may surprise you and completely understand and help you when they can.