If you haven’t already, I suggest reading my first post about this and how my fear developed, which can be found here.

Bringing Me Closer to Flying:
Now, I just need to start off by saying how proud I am of myself. If anyone who has a fear of flying and still gets on a plane and is reading this, you should be proud of yourself.  And for those that are not yet ready, but want to one day be ready, you are also included in this ‘proud’ category.

When I suddenly became afraid of flying, I didn’t know what to think. But what I did know was that one day I would go back to soaring in the air.

As I mentioned in my prior post about this, my grandfather passed away and I missed his funeral because it involved me traveling down to the Caribbean and I just couldn’t bring myself to fly. Ever since that day, I became pretty sad and beat myself up.  However, I knew that my family would all go down there after one year and have a special memorial ceremony for him and visit his tomb.  And for this, I knew I just had to go.

So within the year leading up, I did my homework and I learned that my personal fear of flying could be overcome with just two things: listening to yourself and confidence.

Listening to Yourself:
I knew I was afraid to fly, but I didn’t exactly know of what.  And that’s when I had to really have a one-on-one with myself and ponder about it for a while.  I imagined myself going through the process of purchasing a ticket, getting to the airport, boarding the plane, being in the air, landing, being at my destination, and then doing it all over again for a return back home. And with all of these steps in mind, I took a piece of paper and wrote down my thoughts and fears.  My list included “anxious waiting for flight to board, no doctors on plane, no oxygen, being stuck in the air with the plane not being able to come down to ‘safe’ land quickly or pause for a second for me to recollect myself, turbulence, and being stuck abroad knowing that I needed to do it again.”

So I took this list and stared it down.  There it was.  All of my fears about this whole flying process on a sheet of paper.  I reread it and added things here and there in a different color. I elaborated more as to what I was afraid of, but it was all secondary.  And fine, I let it all out.  And it felt great.  But what I was really focused on was what I wrote initially and the keywords that stood out: “waiting,” “no oxygen,” “safe on land,” “turbulence,” and “do it again.”  And that’s what I was afraid of.  in a nutshell, but clear as day.

Confidence:
My doctor mentioned that I could be given an anxiety pill, perhaps take a sleeping pill, or drink a glass of wine to calm down my nerves.  But I didn’t want to take that route. Personally, I just wanted to get to the root of how I was so capable of flying with no problems before and why my flying habits took a sudden turn.

So I took my list and, within the year, decided to educate myself.  I decided to build my confidence.  Because we fear things when we don’t feel capable of succeeding, correct?  We may have a fear or anxiety because we don’t know what’s going on and we are fearing for the worst, right?  Well, that’s what I think, at least.  And so, I took this notion and embarked on my own journey of becoming confident and learning more about myself in the process.

At my own pace and with a calm, cool and collected mind, I took each keyword and focused on educating myself.

Waiting
Sure, this could give nerves to anyone!  But I just needed to learn that I had to remain present and breathe through any sort of anxiousness that would arrive.  Waiting made me feel nervous because I didn’t know what was going to happen to me in the near future.  And that was the problem.  I was so focused on the future that I was forgetting about the present.  Attending yoga classes regularly (at least two times a week) gave me the confidence to take what was happening now and just ride through it, like a wave.  Breathing exercises became my best friend and this was all useful to me all throughout my flying experience.

In the meantime before the flight, I browsed around the shops and had a nice breakfast with other travelers around me.  My flight was called to board and off I went into the plane 🙂

food ii loren
food

No Oxygen
I legit thought that I would run out of oxygen on the plane.  How could so many people breathe in air, release carbon dioxide, and just be stuck in this thing we call a ‘plane’ that uses recycled air anyway?  For sure I thought it was going to run out of it.  And that scared me.  When I had my panic attack, I kept screaming ‘oxygen’! But, that was all because my breaths were so short that obviously I wasn’t getting enough into my body unless I calmed down and started taking some nice, long deep breaths.

So, instead of knowing that the answer it out there and choosing to not seek it out (the Internet is chock full of studies and information, people!), I went the other route and decided to read up on it.  And, interestingly enough, I read up on it a lot.  And as it turns out, the way that the air is regulated and the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide available, are actually healthy and falls within standards.  If for some reason the pressure of the plane drops, you are given oxygen masks to off-set the deliverance of oxygen floating around the plane and, instead, delivered to you directly.

For more information on the subject, I would suggest taking a peek at this document on the quality of air in the cabin.

Safe on Land
For some reason, I thought that being in the air was where I would be most at risk of an accident happening.  Sure there may be things that go wrong, but if the engine goes off, just know that pilots are trained to land safely when this happens during their training.  And sure, there are many things we see in the news.  But just know that there are millions of flights that happen yearly. And you’re not the only on in the air.  Click here to see what is currently flying above your head and in your country right now!  See all those white planes?  Yup, happening now.  LIVE. You’re not the only one.  Now imagine how many cars there are… at least double that on the roads!  Such a busy, busy world we live in :).

Another thing that made me think that I would be safer on land was the fact that I could go home.  But then it occurred to me: I could panic on the plane throughout a flight, get off of it, go back through security, through customs, into a taxi to my destination only to go back and through the same thing… or… I could try to be brave and just enjoy my flight.  And enjoy the growth that is happening within me.  I needed to not run away and be confident.. so that’s what I am going to do!

Turbulence
Ah, that fear that the plane is going to just spin out of control because it is shaking a bit (or a lot).  You know, to be honest, this really scared me, but when I got on the flight back in November, I was actually really looking forward to it!  And I actually quite enjoyed the turbulence! (Cue the people shaking their heads and calling me ‘crazy’.  It’s okay, my mom thought I was crazy, too).  But in all honesty, I was totally OK with it because I did my homework.  I read on what turbulence really is.  I YouTubed it to death.  And I learned.

flying

I always think of the skies as Jell-O now.  I cannot succeed in finding the clip, but when I do I will post it here!  But the general concept is to imagine a mold of Jello that contains a little plane you are pushing through.  Now, if you pat the top of the Jello mold, you are causing ‘turbulence’, but notice that the plane isn’t falling and crashing.  The plane decreases about 20-30ft to avoid the wind coming at it at the speed it is at, but the plane doesn’t fall.  It’s molded into the air so well, that it’s almost comforting.  This helped ease my tension on the subject.

But seriously, just go online and Google or YouTube the heck out it.  It is definitely scary at first to learn about these things, but it came more as a comfort to me the more I learned about it.  Check out this retired pilot here in the meantime :).

Do It Again
After doing my homework, it didn’t matter to me as much anymore of me fearing the fact that I had to do it again. Pushing something away and avoiding it sometimes makes things worse, as it is being suppressed and only being fed into what you are trying to forget about. So, on that note, I knew that in order for me to be more comfortable with it, I had to do it again.  So looked forward to doing it again.  You get better at doing things the more you practice, right?  A round-trip flight seemed like a perfect opportunity for me to get practice.

Conclusion:
After spending a year of researching/educating myself, doing yoga, and imagining myself getting on the plane, I am happy to say that I made it on my flight two months ago and had no panic attack.  Was I nervous? Yes, of course, a bit.  But was I going to back down and let this thing hold me down for the rest of my life?  No way.  To some people, flying and traveling is not their priority in life, and that’s OK!  It doesn’t have to be.  But for me, I felt that this was something that really meant a lot to me and I was going to put in the work so that I could become confident and capable of soaring through the skies.

I made it to my grandfather’s one-year memorial mass down in the Caribbean and I know deep in my heart that he is watching above proud of me.  Can I say that I have absolutely no fear anymore?  Maybe not.  Like I said, it’s all about practicing what you fear.  And, let’s be real, a plane ticket isn’t exactly a commodity, so it won’t happen very often.  However, when it does, I know that I am confident I can go through the flight.  I started small (a 3 1/2 hour flight) and, to be honest, I want to travel far, but those are 8+ hours of being up in the air.  Yet, I know that if I put my mind to it and not only listen to myself, but really give myself reasons to be confident, that I could totally do it.

I want to travel to Europe and South America very soon, but one step at a time, right? 🙂

Thank you so much for reading and please feel free to leave your comments below!

Wishing you an easier flight with the confidence you build within yourself and a bravery that may enlighten you to become more fearless that will allow you to do more beautiful things that matter to you.

Knowledge is power,
Loren.

lorenbch

Disclaimer: I am not a professional in any way on this subject and I shouldn’t be a substitute to any doctor, etc. etc., so please consult with your doctor if you are thinking of trying anything. But, for me, being knowledgeable in the areas that scared me the most was what gave me confidence and what brought me to being able to get on a flight. Disclosure

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Brooklyn native, Latina, and founder of Enlightened by Bravery, an adventure/travel and wellness blog that focuses on drawing inspiration from adventures around the world back into your life // iPhoneographer // Francophile

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  1. I was wondering about your yoga journey, is there going to be any new updates or future plans in pursuing yoga as a profession. Thanks for posting your life on here and good luck !

    1. Hi Andy! Thank you so much for leaving a comment :). I am not quite sure at this moment where my yoga practice will take me! But I find the journey of figuring that out to be a wonderful one! I will definitely, though, post something about it if it becomes my profession one day! For now, I will just practice and continue learning. Namaste & best of luck to you! 🙂 xx

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5.

5 Best Places to Eat in Ubud

Let me tell you, there is no shortage of places to eat in Ubud; it is both absolutely fascinating and exciting!! With that said, whenever we go anywhere to eat, I always rank them and keep record of it so that I can (1) remember them for next time and (2) share them (because nothing makes me happier than being able to share some reccos with you!!). Below you will find 5 of the best places we ate at during our time in Ubud, so you can kickstart your yummy eating! And I’m sure you’ll find more as you explore around, so please comment below on any others you absolutely found to love!! Enjoy the recommendations!!!

The Clear Café

I love this place so much that I came here three times. Vegetarian, vegan, and raw-diet friendly, this place has all the healthy, delicious goodness and charm one could hope many restaurants everywhere could offer. For starters, you are welcomed by this beautiful hand-carved circular door where you “shoe check” your footwear, are given a number, and then are seated either on the first or second floor. As you descend up the stairs, where on each step lays fresh flowers at your feet, you come to a daily motivational quote sure to pick your day up even more (written entirely out of flowers, I should add). The food is absolutely healthy and delicious (did I say that already?!). It may be a little pricier than most regular joints in Ubud (meaning your meal may be $10 USD), but it is absolutely worth it. You will fall in love with the menu as there is a diverse offering in cuisine. I highly recommend the Bali Berry, Tropical Twister, Chai Iced Dream, Twilight Tonic, Fish Fillet, Dragon Bowl (my fave — I live for that mango chutney), and the Chocolate Platinum!


Warung Città Ovest Pizza & Pasta

This pizza and pasta joint is LEGIT. Not only is it crazy affordable, it is even crazier delicious. You don’t have to jetset to Italy for a pizza craving because this place ‘got you.’ The only caveat is that the seating is very limited, so get there before the lunch or dinner rush to score a seat — and a scooter parking spot right in front. For pizzas, the Basil Basil and Vegetariana were legit. Pastas? Can’t go wrong with Pomodoro and Pesto. ps: they also do take away, just keep your grip tight on your pizza box as you’re scooting on back to your place like we did :). pps: yes, they have WiFi!


Café Pomegranate

Located a little ways away from central Ubud, this place will require you to take your little scooter on up to narrow paths, but leave you highly rewarded with a feeling of freedom as you drive past the beautiful rice fields. Café Pomegranate itself is located in front of a rice field and boasts some wonderful al fresco dining. Park your scooter up front, remove your shoes at the entryway, be welcomed by your server (and probably one of the friendly cats just strolling around), and be seated to your place of preference. I highly recommend taking a seat at the perimeter of the restaurant where you’ll be seated on a cushioned chair on the floor, overlooking the beautiful green fields in front of you. The menu isn’t too extensive, but still boasts some very delicious foods. We highly recommend the curry and their fresh fruit juices. It is the perfect spot for anytime during the day, but I think going for sunset would be even lovelier, too.


Gaya Gelato

The heat is certainly going to be up while you’re in Bali, so why not cool off with some of the most delicious, artisanal gelato in the area?! With two locations to choose from in Ubud (or, why choose? go to both ;)), Gaya Gelato will certainly hit that sweet spot without feeling like you’re about to go on a sugar high– plus, they also serve sorbets for all of my dairy-sensitive friends out there :). They have classic flavors like vanilla, pistachio, hazelnut and chocolate, but also boast some local and artisanal flavors such as: durian, chocolate + orange, and mangosteen. Speaking of local, all of their ingredients are locally sourced and only the freshest of them all are used. So, how will you choose? Well, here’s a little hint: even if you get just one scoop, you can choose to do two flavors. Not too shabby, huh?


Toro Sushi

If you have a hankering for some sushi, Toro Sushi has you covered. We actually stumbled upon this place and were pleasantly surprised with the sushi as it was super tasty! It was also a nice break from trying all of the local Balinese food non-stop in the two towns we were at before hitting up Ubud: Uluwatu and Sanur. I will admit, the service could have been a little bit quicker, but maybe it was just the New Yorker in me, and maybe it’s just the Bali way ;). I’m more of a sweet potato, yellowtail and rainbow roll kind of girl, but can tell you that my rolls were all delicious and fresh. // bonus: if you’re feeling like a refreshing treat afterwards and don’t want to venture too far, right across the way from Toro Sushi is a place right across the way called “Açai Queen,” it’s great for a little something sweet (both for the palette and the eyes) if you’re craving a finishing touch to your meal ;).

xx,

D.

Dealing with Post-Travel Depression

travel, depression, mental health, blogger

Editor’s note: I always want my posts to come with a learning rather than be a vent session, so I laid low for a while to be a student to life, learn some of the lessons in private and come back with advice – I hope this helps anyone out there who may be dealing with the same.

After living abroad for a year where we: drove THOUSANDS of miles in our van, rental cars and busses, boarded 12 different flights and visited 6 insanely different (and beautiful) countries, I came back to New York a totally changed person. My mentality changed. My pace of life changed. But New York? It was the same. And that was the start of it.

To be honest, these have been some of the most confusing and difficult two months in quite a while for me. Coming from a state of mind of constantly being stimulated with “new” to having pretty much nothing stimulate me back home, well, I really didn’t have much motivation to do anything— truthfully.

I soon found that all of the things that used to bring me joy and happiness here (before I left) no longer did that for me. Instead, I felt stuck, lost and was going through the motions. I’ll be the first to tell you that I was lazily waking up at 10/11am every day and never really left the house. I wasn’t active on social media much, nor did I really want to be social– not online and not in person. If I wasn’t sitting on the bed playing Matchington (iPhone game similar to Candy Crush), I was in the kitchen just cooking all the time so I could release my frustrations in a more creative way.

There really wasn’t much will for anything, just enough to get through the day.

I wasn’t feeling like myself and it really made me frustrated. I LOVE being outdoors. I LOVE exploring. I LOVE being social and active. I LOVE seeking the new, the different — but none of that was jiving with me. It also didn’t help that it’s the dead of winter and if I wanted to go out NYC would give me the gift of hyperthermia. Thanks, but no thanks.

I started looking at my life and started questioning everything. Who am I? What’s my purpose? I felt absolutely useless and purposeless (and that’s such a sucky feeling to have). What did I want to do? I didn’t know. I didn’t want to know. I just wanted it to be night time so I can sleep and not have to think about anything.

travel, depression, mental health, blogger

I came across a handful of post-travel depression articles in my research BEFORE we left for life abroad, but I really didn’t pay much attention to them. “Nah, that won’t happen to me; I’ve traveled a lot before and never felt that way,” is what I’d always say.

The Aha Moment:

But you know what I learned? That you need to, 100%, admit it to yourself, in the mirror, that this is real, happening to you, 100% normal, and that you will get through it. And it was at that pivotal moment that I started to recover. You no longer are in denial. You accept. And as simple as it sounds, it was extremely hard to come to that conclusion and admit it to the one person who needs to hear it the most: you.

Forget the taboo. Years ago, seeing a therapist was seemed as if something was wrong with you. With the increase in mental health awareness, the fact that you get to see a therapist is amazing. It shows strength. Power. Will for a better tomorrow and thereafter. The same with admitting that you have depression. Admit it to yourself and keep moving forward for your better tomorrow and thereafter.

Proof is in the Pudding:

That kickass person that saved money, was finding the best deals on travel/experiences, went away, communicated (even if BARELY) with strangers in a foreign language in order to survive, adapted, took chances on the craziest ideas, was extraordinarily nimble, was curious about life and beyond — that kickass person is STILL in there!! The skills, perspectives and everything else you learned will forever be a part of you. Just because your environment changed doesn’t mean that you suddenly became (sorry for the harshness) stupid/worthless/less valuable than a piece of chopped liver. I once had a marketing executive give me an example at my previous job once where he woke up one day and his wife, all concerned, was like, “omg what if you lose your job today?” and his response was “so then I get another one? I move on and figure it out. Just because I lose my job doesn’t instantly make me stupid and forget all that I know and have learned.” And that’s a good mentality to have, because though your environment has changed, you are still A FREAKING BADASS AND FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH!

You see, when you travel (and especially live) abroad, you notice different values, patterns, customs and people. The beautiful thing about traveling is that exposure to ‘different’ makes you think past the superficial and into the depths of your soul. And oftentimes, changes you — for the better. That’s why we bring back souvenirs and have a whole story to tell along with them; experiences from afar strung such a chord with us that we just needed to have a way to remember them back home. Even if it isn’t physical, the memories are just as sweet. It’s a beautiful moment in time, really.

Getting back to New York, I was picking apart all the things that I saw was ‘wrong’ with it. And by ‘wrong’ I meant ‘what was not normal to me anymore.” AND THAT’S OKAY. What else would you expect after you come home to the ‘ordinary’ after living the ‘extraordinary?’

MOVING FORWARD WITH LIFE:

Initially, when I searched the web frantically for some consolation to my woes, a lot of the advice I saw out there was “leave again ASAP” and, personally, that didn’t jive with me. To me, that was escaping. And I SO BAD wanted to do it. SO BAD. But, the average American gets two weeks of vacation a year; are you expected to burn through that in one fell swoop?

After admitting that I had post-travel depression, my mentality shifted to this:

if I was able to adjust in other parts of the world on a different mentality than those of the locals, then I am capable of getting stronger with my mentality here back home, getting my sh*t together, and putting myself on a more sensible track to doing what I love and getting to where I want to be.

I don’t think NYC will be our forever and ever home (or only home), but it is my home right now, and until I figure out the rest of my life’s plans, I’m going to make the best of it. Let all of the amazing experiences away catch up with you. You’ll soon start to see yourself getting creative again, motivated. And the universe will continue to guide you to where you’re meant to be. You ran a marathon. This is your recovery period. Recover, because the kicking of a** will continue!!!

Summary

  • When you get home and are back from your trip, chill. Take it easy on yourself. This is normal. This process takes time.
  • Stay afloat. Don’t spiral too downwards in your woes. I mean, hey, we all have our days, but know when to come back and just… float. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Have honest conversations in the mirror about your frustrations, concerns, and be open about how sad you are. Consult a therapist or, as I did, a loved one. And journal. Journal as often as possible.
  • Start working out. I KNOW. You have no will or motivation. But after month one, start moving that body around. I promise, it will help. Even if just a bit. AND KEEP MOVING.
  • Find just one thing you find pleasure in doing and keep doing that one thing. For me it was cooking. What’s your one thing?
  • Admit you’re not only depressed but that you’re a freaking BADASS. Sign up for a class. Watch some GaryVee or Tony Robbins. Get pumped. These guys believe in you.
  • Create a mini plan for what you want for yourself in the near future and start planning for that. Small goals, moving to bigger ones down the line. I want to drink more water, start up French lessons again, and eventually go to South America to visit family at some point before the year’s end. Even if I get just one checked off, it’s one in the right direction.

It’s not such a fun story that I’m sharing, but it’s something super important, super real and is a mental state that definitely needs to have some more light shed on it. We all go through our own post-travel depression levels and it’s important to do what works best for you. But remain honest. Stay positive. And just know that, like all of your bad days that are now behind you, this, too, will be something you will overcome. It will be something we will overcome. And you know why? Because we’re beautiful, global citizens that need a little reset before we go back out there again, learning more, sharing more, and doing more life-changing things.

xx,