Travel and the Highly Sensitive Person
Since I am a mother, summer is the most convenient time to travel. We have decided as a family that we want to travel as much as possible before our kids go off to college, so this means that we will do a big trip over the summer and shorter ones throughout the year.
As an HSP, I prefer to stay home. I want to sleep in my own bed, be able to control my own food (due to food sensitivities), and just want my routine. The predictability of being at home with the comforts I have created around me keeps me grounded and happy.
Traveling throws off my sleep, my digestion and my routines. In addition to all that, there is also the packing before and unpacking after. The extra preparations necessary before I leave and the often catch up work when I return. All these inconveniences don’t even begin to describe the energy I absorb from the actual travel. Airports, airplanes and crowded public places all overstimulate my nervous system. If this is the case, then why would I go on a trip?
Because every time I go on a trip, I learn and grow. The break from my daily routine is rejuvenating and allows me to see my life from a different perspective. I love trying new food and seeing different cultures. The travel creates a deeper connection with my kids through shared experiences and forcing them to be in shared rooms. If I didn’t travel, I would miss out on experiences in my life that I desire and would have some regrets.
So what is an HSP supposed to do? I have the desire to travel, yet I want my comforts. Here are some tips:
- Preparation. Have a packing list of your comforts. I take my supplements with me when I travel and always make sure I have water. I also take snacks just in case I can’t get gluten-free/dairy-free food. I set aside more than enough time to pack.
- Honor your sensitivity. I make sure that I don’t over-schedule my time on trips. I leave transition time between destinations and look for local grocery stores, markets, and even the pharmacy.
- Time alone. On a trip with family this can be tough. It is important that you have a few minutes each day to yourself. You can go to the lobby of your hotel and journal or go on a short walk. Communicate your need for some time alone to your travel buddies and they will support you.
- Transition time. When you return, allow yourself some time to get used to coming home. What helps you feel at home again? Do you need to go grocery shopping, unpack, laundry, workout? Do what you need in order to arrive home and rejuvenate before you start work again.
These are some travel tips that I have learned over the last few years.
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