Hodophobia is, to put it simply, the fear of travelling.
There are many ways it manifests itself, and through many symptoms. For some, this fear is localized only for specific trips and methods of transportation. Others fear any and all kinds of trips.
So, for example, one individual may be afraid of even leaving their home at all, while others simply can’t stand travelling by train.
A sad part of this condition is that there are many people who actually do wish they could travel, to see new places and meet new people, but are simply too afraid to even try.
Now, what causes Hodophobia is a bit more difficult to describe. The causes can be many, from a general need to always feel in control, to past trauma, to a part of some larger issue.
The symptoms of Hodophobia
Hodophobia, like most phobias, evokes certain physical issues and symptoms within people. These can be:
- a feeling of nausea
Some people may even feel chest pain, and an increased heartbeat. In more severe cases, it can trigger a panic attack.
An added symptom of Hodophobia (or rather a symptom of its symptoms) is the fact that it makes travelling more difficult. You will feel disoriented and afraid, navigating an airport or cruise terminal will be much more difficult than it actually should be.
A sense of confusion may overwhelm you when you’re trying to do some basic tasks, like reading a map, checking into a hotel room, etc. This all then causes a very negative feedback loop, making the issue much more severe.
Obviously nothing can beat seeing a good psychologist or psychiatrist. Basically, contacting a mental professional should be your first and primary option. However, if you for whatever reason cannot access a professional at a certain point in time, there are still things you can do to regulate your symptoms, and simply just pull through.
The best way to regulate it, and the manner in which Hodophobia is often treated, is by exposure. Inch by inch, step by step, try to push yourself out of your comfort zone by just a little bit every day. Cognitive behavioural therapy and exposure therapy have been proven as excellent solutions and effective way to deal with this type of phobia
Know that there are still a couple of things you can do without the instructions of a therapist. They all mostly focus on planning for the unexpected. They help you learn how to deal with all the stressful unexpected situations you may think may happen on a trip.
So, first, do your research.
Go on the internet and get some information on your hotel, or the seating plan for your trip, Note down where all the important areas and points of interest are. This way you can have a clear plan and schedule in case you get disoriented or confused. Instead of going deeper and deeper into the confusion, getting more and more frustrated, you are able to stop this problem in its track. Or, at the very least, you will be able to prevent it from getting worse.
Next, plan your route properly.
Create backup plans, backup maps, and backup charts, just in case. Confirm your bookings a day or two in advance. This will get you some more peace of mind once you’re on the road.
Take care of yourself.
The better condition your body is in, the better it will deal with stress and the difficulties of travel. So try to stay hydrated, and get enough sleep before your trip starts. All symptoms of Hodophobia will be much worse if you are dehydrated or grumpy from lack of sleep. Try to eat something as well, at least a small snack.
Read up a bit.
Get a feel for what the culture is like, how people drive, what are their taboos, what they consider rude, what they consider proper. Read up on any car seat safety tips, or just tips in general, that will make you feel safer about you and your family on the road. Reading statistics on just how rare plane crashes actually are can help you calm down. Or, maybe studying what to do in case of emergencies can give you a sense of security and control.
Visualization is key.
Try to visualise the whole situation. Imagine yourself walking through the airport, going on a plane, travelling a by plane, landing, getting into a bus… Use the internet to make this more real and tangible. This can prepare your mind for the entire situation.
Hodophobia is no joke, and needs to be dealt with properly. Travelling is one of the most fulfilling experiences you can have, and it would be a shame for you to miss out on it because of this fear.
If you can’t, for whatever reason, see a psychiatrist, there are still things you can do. Plan out properly, visualize, and take care of yourself. In essence, try to make the unknown just a little bit more familiar, and you should be on your way towards enjoying your trip.
Mia Johnson is a freelance writer with a ten-year long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourn, she now lives in Sidney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.