Driving an Old Car in New Zealand=Anxiety

Mazda Familia at a campsite in New Zealand.

I’ve been fortunate enough to live in a wonderful country. At the same time, however, I’ve been cursed with an old car to tour the said wonderful country. Okay, I shouldn’t say cursed. I chose this car (as did Daniel). But when you’re on a bit of a budget while traveling, you try and choose the cheapest options. Whether it’s accommodation, food, or attractions, you obviously want to keep the price as low as possible.

Although it’s not always the case, sometimes you really get what you pay for.

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The Ugly Side to Traveling

At the top of Apsan Mountain in Daegu, Korea.

I woke up one morning and looked like I was 14 years old again. I was breaking out all over my face. Was I having an allergic reaction? Oh, please let this just be bug bites. This couldn’t be happening again to me…at 25.

I was unfortunately cursed with the bad-skin-gene growing up, which may have contributed to my shyness and insecurity. But as I grew out of my teens, it improved drastically and acne was hardly a concern anymore. I was becoming more confident and comfortable with myself.

But then I arrived in Korea and the country decided to wreak havoc on my skin.

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My Struggles With Travel Hypochondria

red and white pills

Anxiety for me goes off and on. My life is like a series of peaks and troughs. Some periods I feel great, everything is fine. Then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I’m stressing out about everything in existence.

The annoyance with the troughs in life are that sometimes they seem to be hard to pull yourself out of, eventually it can seem almost impossible.

Your anxiety can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy – never is this more true than when you’re having bouts of hypochondria. [Read more...]

What it’s Like for an American to Drive in New Zealand

American driving in New Zealand graphic.Imagine that you have flown over 13 hours to the other side of the world and are in this new, foreign land. You’re ready to explore and see everything New Zealand has to offer. You want to discover the geysers in the north and the fiords in the south.

But however will you get around?

On a tight schedule with an unlimited budget? Plane. Want to see the country in a unique setting? Train. Can sit for hours upon hours without needing a toilet nearby? Bus. Found yourself on a one-year visa with the freedom to go wherever and whenever you please? Car.

But there is one problem–they drive on the left in New Zealand.

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Dealing with Bed Bugs in Vancouver, Canada

magnified bed bug on hair

Before I moved to Canada, I wasn’t really aware that bed bugs were real. They were a foreign idea and I never considered that I could get them. My sole experience of bed bugs was that oft used phrase “Goodnight, sleep tight…don’t let the bed bugs bite.” To my mind those little insects were a fairy tale, up there with the tooth fairy and Easter bunny. [Read more...]

I’ve Acquired a (Mis)Pronunciation Phobia While in New Zealand

Speech bubble made from a keyboard. It’s probably no surprise to anyone who knows me that I get embarrassed quite easily. Often times, this makes traveling difficult. To be a traveler, you can’t be afraid to make a fool out of yourself because it’s inevitable. If you’re an anxious, easily embarrassed person (like I am), it might even hold you back from traveling, and seeing new places.

I’m not afraid of going to new places, per se. I’m afraid of making a fool out of myself when I don’t know the how to’s of a new place: how to order from a Korean restaurant, how to fill up a tank of gas in New Zealand, and how to pronounce an unfamiliar word. Although an eloquent writer, I’m pretty horrible at speaking. [Read more...]

Fear of Financial Ruin: The Stress of Finding a Job While Traveling

Newspaper jobs section

Travel ain’t cheap.

Hotels. Restaurants. Buses. Planes. Trains. Automobiles. If you’re going to travel long-term you need to make a strict budget and you need to plan ahead. Otherwise one day you’ll wake up, find your bank account empty and you’ll have to do the last thing you want to do: go home.

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Travel Fear: Going Through Immigration

The queue at an airport's immigration.

I have developed an irrational fear when traveling internationally: going through customs and immigration. I have no reason to cause suspicion, yet I can’t help but feel on edge whenever I’m about to cross a border.

My passport photo is from when I was 17, a blonde without bangs (a fringe). What if they think I am a fake? What if they believe I am using a stolen passport? It’s not my fault passports don’t expire for, like, 10 years. People change, you know?

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The Fear of Getting Mugged While Traveling

dark alley at night

Before traveling alone for the first time I had a lot of pre-trip anxiety. Thousands of situations ran through my head. All the things that might happen or could go wrong. The thought of getting mugged was right up there at the top.

I could picture the scene vividly in my head. A dark night in a foreign city, all alone. I’m lost, wandering down a black, silent alley. Suddenly a faceless figure jumps out, I see a shine of light as a knife flicks towards me. “Gimme your money!” [Read more...]