Airport anxiety

close-up of a person's hand at the airport holding their passport and boarding pass.

Despite travelling through the airport so frequently, I can’t help but feel butterflies in my stomach every time. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to travel overseas since I was a toddler, resulting in some of my earliest memories being in aeroplanes and airports. I can recall walking through busy crowds, waiting in long lines, and my parents’ tense demeanour trying to manage the baggage and their children. During this mid-semester break, I travelled interstate to visit my family. You may assume that someone who’s travelled through airports as much as I have would be used to it by now. Yet, for some reason, I still get nervous butterflies in my stomach. 

Could it be that travelling is such a distinct symbol of transition? Like physically travelling to a new chapter of life. Leaving people in one location to go to another, you’ll miss the memories you’ve made together and perhaps long for more time together. Unfortunately, the majority of the time you miss things even more as they come to an end. As the time came to leave, I left with a smile on my face and butterflies in my stomach, grateful for the time spent.

Could the nervousness be from considering the airport a stressful place? Perhaps observing the way my parents navigated through the airport rubbed off on me when I was younger. They seemed to be tense and meticulous in the way they went about it. I currently find the airport to be overwhelming, requiring my full attention as I navigate to my flight. I find myself on high alert watching my belongings and trying to keep track of my next order of business, check-in, security, etc. 

Although it may be a mixture of both excitement and nervousness, I don’t consider these butterflies unwelcome. I aim to grow to be aware of these feelings and acknowledge them so that I can learn to better take care of myself and my needs in the future. 

If you want to find out more about anxiety in general or check out some helpful resources, there is some great stuff on the Wellbeing Hub.

Tagged in What messes with your head, anxiety, Travel