We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, January 1. 2015
Travel avoidance and phobic anxieties in general
It's time for 2015 travel planning if we have not done that yet (most have done so already, I suspect, but some people are last-minute "planners").
I have a new case of a fellow who has developed a travel phobia. To be accurate, he has not really developed it, it has just been exposed by his frustrated family.
Many people with fears of all sorts never have them exposed because they find ways and excuses to avoid the things that make them uncomfortable. Typical excuses: "I hate cocktail parties," "I hate going to sports stadiums," "I don't want to go to that stupid place," "It's dangerous," "I hate cities," "Airplanes suck," "It's too expensive," "I don't need any new friends," etc etc.
Phobias are more often identified by avoidances than by real episodes of fear or discomfort. How does one tell what is a phobic avoidance from a plain dislike? Well, a little ruthless dose of self-scrutiny can answer most of your questions about your own fears and insecurities.
Like agoraphobics, travel phobics dart from place of safety to place of safety and familiarity no matter how often over-visited, never enjoy the trip or the adventures of life, and constrict their experiences and the richness of their lives in the process. Carpe diem. Life is short and shorter with each new day and each new year.
Men are particularly reluctant to admit flaws and weaknesses. Pride and shame prevent people from owning up to the personal weaknesses of their fears and frailties. I give blogger Ann Althouse, for example, credit for acknowledging her travel phobia (she feels that a driving trip from Madison to Austin is a daunting adventure). Properly naming one's fears, instead of making excuses, is the first step towards addressing them and conquering them.
What we term "simple phobias" are among the easiest things we shrinks have to deal with. In my experience, people with travel phobias and adventure phobias, once mastered, want to go everywhere and do everything.
Trackback specific URI for this entry
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Right, showing a liner through the periscope of an attacking submarine makes me want to take a cruise. Not.
Get off it, Chuck! There're no cross-hairs or range-estimating rings in the pic.
Still, spur-of-the-moment quip; I'll give you 10 points for it.
People who like travel have a hard time imagining that people who don't like it are serious, not just making excuses. Being someplace exotic is great, of course, but getting there is rarely any fun at all, and staying in hotels isn't so hot, either. All in all, there are ways to spend boatloads of money that I think are lots more fun. And I happen to like where I live.
Travel is over-rated. It's expensive, inconvenient, and a pain in the butt. I've flown four times (two round-trips) in the last five years, and if I have any choice in the matter, I'll never fly again.
Don't get me wrong; I enjoy flying. It's airports and airlines and modern airliners which are the work of the devil. I have 5000 flight hours in military patrol planes over a 20-year career. I have a private pilot's license (though I haven't used it in 20 years). But airline security is humiliating and time-wasting, modern airliners are cramped, and airlines themselves are greedy and uncaring. I'm not afraid of airplanes - it's just that I despise commercial aviation as currently implemented.
Here at home, I have just about everything I need. I like where I live, and see no reason to go elsewhere. I've seen enough of the world to know that over there isn't any better than here; it's just "different" and "expensive".
Thanks, I'll pass.
Yeah, they used to say getting there was half the fun, but with commercial air these days, getting there is a trauma needing professional help.
Who knew? I don't want to borrow several thousand dollars for a trip to Europe so I have a 'phobia', a fear of travel. Who knew? Sounds like a new profit center for the shrinks to me.
Actually, I do have some fears about traveling. For example, I think it would be very cool to ride the trans-Siberian railroad. But what if a bunch of thugs stole my possessions, money and ID and threw me off the train, say at Lake Baikal? How would I ever get home?
The game of language barrier is a problem for me as well. Some view it as a fun, exciting challenge. I few it as an immense frustration.
My sister once traveled to Barcelona. All the cafes/bars/stores were blue with cigarette smoke so she had a constant headache. Plus her purse was snatched off her arm on the street. She didn't have a good time.
Mrs. feeblemind says some day we are going to England, France and Italy. So we'll see.
I can understand anybody living in New England thinking travel was nice.
People in Ohio like it at home. Horizon to horizon views.
I expected a little push-back, but not this much.
Not all stay-at-homers are phobics, but many are and are reluctant to admit it. That's my only point.
My secondary point is that there's a big world out there waiting to be explored. A friend told me over the holidays that she annually plans a trip by closing her eyes and spinning a globe. She's never been sorry about random and unlikely adventures.
As far as making money from these people - not much. Not only is it an ancient problem - not new at all and identified by the ancient Greeks - but it is easily and quickly remedied.
Dr. B--but HOW to you fix it so easily? My travel phobia typically hits me at the airport, some months after I had the idea that a business/scholarly trip to Europe would be great fun. It is most distressing, not a little expensive, and the therapist I visited could only recommend that I think about home while I was leaving. I have been flying to Europe since I was an infant (Europarents) but for some reason over the last 20 years, it has become harder and harder. I am amazed that this is easy to fix.
How do you distinguish between people who fear something and those who simply dislike it? It would be dangerous, surely, to be guided too much by whether you enjoy it yourself.
People say I ought to like football, too. At least they act that way.
Polite indifference seems to be out these days.
I live in a place many hundreds of thousands of visitors, American and foreign, visit annually for a world class experience. The food's as good here as NYC, the water is clean and reliable, unlike most of the rest of the world---Europe included. The golf courses here are beautiful, numerous and challenging and we have 310+ days of sunshine. Also, we're hundreds of miles from annoying large bodies of water and their equally annoying, attendant beaches. If we insist on swimming, there are pools filled with clean water, clean rivers with holes and a number of suitable lakes, but not so many as to allow breeding of hordes of mosquitoes---in fact, that just aren't that many annoying insects at all! Unlike almost any other place I have visited, here or abroad. I can drive six hours on relatively lightly traveled roads to visit ancient ruins or beautiful geologic a features, all world class.....so why would I want to spend thousands of dollars to travel to dirty, non-English speaking, lousy, expensive food-selling places, such as almost anywhere else? ( Best part of living in a Stateside tourist destination? Almost all of the tourists go home!) If I want a Third World experience, there are certain sections of NYC, starting with the Met, that I can visit.
Almost forgot, those quaint European destinations where so many go because of their "ancient" heritage?
So many have been re-built as a result of two world wars' worth of destruction, that a majority of them are just a decode or so older than California's Disneyland!!!
My mom was a romantic, and loved to travel anywhere!! I, on the other hand, know that I will be Very T ired of standing by the time we are herded through the Sistine Chapel with hundreds of other tourists.
From friends' photos I have seen, I have the vague impression that cruises are an opportunity for drunken orgies. Sigh!
Which reminds me of a story - a publisher once asked geologist EJ Wayland to write a book about his adventures in East Africa, but Wayland replied, "I had none; only incompetent people have adventures". (from the book "Leakey's Luck")
I had the good fortune to travel a lot with most of the expense paid by my employer. I spent a lot of time in various countries and made friends and became comfortable with living in other cultures. I don't really mind traveling most of it is good and the bad makes for some great stories. I flew into Berlin once in the 60's with a heavy cloud cover where landing is below the 200' ceiling. You come out of the clouds to see a building perhaps 100' off the left of the airplane and a church steeple another 100' off the right side of the plane. Then there was that time in a 3rd world country where armed military took me into a room while my plane was boarding. Mistaken identity I'm sure. I once flew from Texas to Alaska on a 747 with only 12 passengers. Another time on a beautiful Summer day I left Denver in a 727 headed West and somewhere over the rockies in a violent thunderstorm the plane lost all power and we dropped 8000' before the pilot was able to restart an engine.
I hate to travel, especially since 9/11, although I have to do it fairly frequently for work. You never know what issues you will have at the airport--security requirements are constantly being changed and vary widely from airport to airport without rhyme or reason; plane fares are obscenely expensive; you get charged outrageous sums for checking in baggage which means that everyone now tries to carry everything on board which means it is chaos and the luggage bins look like something out of Air Cuba; they no longer serve food; they don't even serve water, you have to buy it in bottles and they don't take cash, so if you don't have an acceptable credit card you will die of thirst; seat sizes have continually shrunk so that even I as a normal size person have problems sitting in my seat without my knees being up to my chest.
And that's just the planes. The last business trip I made a couple of months ago, we had to wait in the shuttle 45 minutes before it left the airport, and by the time I got to the hotel they had given away my room and there were no additional rooms in the hotel. This was for a reservation where I had paid extra to be assured a guaranteed room (another gimmick). Fortunately, another guy on the same business trip was also booked in the hotel and I ended up sleeping in his room; otherwise I would have been sleeping in the hotel lobby. And I am still fighting with the hotel about being charged for the room I never got.
Maybe it's different in other parts of the world, but travel in the U.S. these days totally sucks.
You want an infinite hotel. Even if it's full, they can get you a room.
Just move the guest in room 1 to room 2, the guest in room 2 to room 3, and so forth, and you get the created vacancy in room 1.
They may move you later, of course. That's always a hassle.