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Writing about my anxiety on my travel blog was the best thing I ever did. Until that point, I’d hidden it from my writing, because no other bloggers were discussing mental health issues in public. I was afraid that people would judge me if I wrote about the panic attacks I’d had around the world — almost as if it was a sign that I was a bad traveler or I wasn’t making the most of my opportunities.

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Instead, the opposite happened. People related lớn my article and shared with me their personal stories of traveling with anxiety. I’ve received hundreds of emails from those who have an anxiety disorder but decided khổng lồ travel the world anyway (and succeeded!), and I’ve received hundreds more from people who dream of traveling but are too nervous to take the plunge.

My story of how my travel misadventures helped me overcome anxiety even caught the attention of a major publisher. My book, How Not lớn Travel the World, is about getting out of your comfort zone no matter how many panic attacks life throws at you. It’s about dealing with unfavorable situations, learning lớn push yourself out of your comfort zone, và falling in love with life on the road.

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Five years ago, I sat home and tentatively planned out an itinerary for my dream trip around the world. I didn’t ever really think I’d be able khổng lồ work up the courage khổng lồ leave.

I was so scared to lớn travel.

Today, I’m in an apartment in Madrid, four years into my travels, with 60 stamps in my passport. I’ve had a total of two anxiety attacks in the past 12 months.

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Travel has been the one thing that helped me conquer my anxiety more than anything else. Sometimes it downright terrifies me, but it also challenges me by forcing me to lớn leave my comfort zone and comforts me by giving me the freedom to vì whatever I want whenever I want. The combination of all three has done wonders for my mental health.

I’ve reached the point where I struggle khổng lồ even think of something that would take me out of my comfort zone, & I’ve proven that it’s possible to travel the world with a debilitating anxiety disorder.

Lauren Juliff runs the website Never Ending Footsteps & is author of the recent book How Not lớn Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster Prone Backpacker. I finished it earlier this week and would definitely recommend it as good summer read. But I’m probably biased since Lauren is my friend so I’ll add that I gave the book to a girl on my Morocco tour và she hasn’t put it down. She loves it and now she’s talking about a solo trip of her own! I think that’s a big vote of confidence!