Airport Anxiety

Every time I approach an airport, my stomach flips and then fills with butterflies. Big ones. It’s that kind of feeling you get when you are sitting on a roller coaster that’s about to begin. It doesn’t matter which airport, if I am coming or going, or if I am dropping someone off or picking them up. I always have the same feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach as soon as an airport comes into sight.

I’m not afraid of flying, actually I love it, and surprisingly over the past 20+ years of frequent flying, I have never missed a flight. So I cannot say that this is the cause for my airport anxiety. There is something else that is sparking this automatic response every time I am in the vicinity of an airport.

I began to notice this feeling about fifteen years ago when I took my husband (then boyfriend) to the Melbourne International airport. He was about to begin a contract onboard a cruise ship and, for the first time, I would not be going with him. I had recently begun a business administration course and fully intended to complete it. Which in turn, also meant that we would be apart for almost six months. Six months! That feeling of pure dread as we approached the airport was so strong. I had felt nerves when heading to the airport before, but nothing like this. My stomach was flipping, I felt sick to my stomach, my heart was pounding and the tears were overflowing at the thought of saying goodbye. We parked the car in the short term parking and went inside the terminal with him to check in his luggage. We knew that we needed to head to the departure gate and security, but that also meant having to say goodbye, so we delayed and avoided heading in that general direction for as long as possible. This hour or so was torturous. From this point onwards, I would always have a feeling of dread when driving into an airport.

I began to associate airports with saying goodbye to someone I loved. Being Australian and having a Dutch partner meant that we have often had to say goodbye to each other at one airport or another over the years. Not to mention the countless times I have had to say goodbye to my family when flying out of Australia. This now means that even when flying together with my husband and children for a family holiday, or picking someone up that I am excited to see, I still have that same feeling in my stomach! So it seems that this response has been imprinted and no matter the reason for being at the airport, my stomach always flips and the nerves set in as soon as I see the signs for Arrivals and Departures.

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The Emotional Turmoil of Terminals

Airports are simply oozing with emotions. Whether it be couples waiting for each other at the arrival gates, or families separating at departures. Wherever you are in any airport, you will always see both happy and sad tears all around you. I am convinced that this is the cause of my airport anxiety. It’s the anticipation of the emotions that come with being there, at the airport, in the first place. Over the years, I have found a couple of simple tricks that seem to help with my airport anxiety.

Drops Offs – Make them Quick

We have since realised that a quick drop and go works much better for us. We don’t even park the car in the airport parking garage anymore. If we ever need to drop each other off at the airport, we simply drive up to departures, stop the car where we can (keeping the ignition on), unload the luggage, give a quick kiss and cuddle goodbye, then leave. Short and sweet is the key to an easier goodbye.

Just Breathe

Taking a few deep breaths can make all the difference. I know, it sounds so simple, but it’s often the simplest things that are the most effective. As soon as I begin to feel anxious, a few deep breaths really do wonders. Once you’ve arrived at the airport on time, have gone through security and found your gate, take the time to find a seat, put your phone away, close your eyes and breathe. Breathing deeply can slow down your heart rate, relax your body, and ease you out of anxiety mode.

Recognise Your Trigger

So I have figured out the root to my airport anxiety. However, there are many other reasons why people suffer from airport anxiety – which is an actual thing by the way. A few examples of other triggers can be getting there on time, the crowds, security, the queues, finding your gate, taking off and landing, and finding your bags at the other end.  Once you recognise what your trigger is, you may be able to discover a way to minimise the anxiety associated with it; arriving early with plenty of time to spare, or traveling with hand luggage only when possible for example.

Do you suffer form airport anxiety and, if so, what do you think the main trigger is for you?

Kristen

Ships in the Port of Rotterdam

Did you know that the Rotterdam harbour is actually the largest port in Europe, stretching over a distance of 40 kilometres? From 1962 until 2004 it was also the world’s busiest port, now overtaken by Singapore and then Shanghai.

Not only is it one of the busiest and biggest container ports, but the port of Rotterdam is also a very popular cruising destination, with several ships visiting on a regular basis throughout the cruising season.

Between April and October 2017, you will regularly see ships such as the Aida Prima (the one with the giant red lips), the MS Rotterdam from Holland American Line, and the Queen Elizabeth from Cunard cruising in and out of Rotterdam, plus many more!

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Love to travel, but hate to fly? Cruising could be the perfect solution and here are a few examples of the possibilities from Rotterdam in 2017!

-This Summer, the city of Rotterdam can look forward to the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth from Cunard. The Queen Elizabeth will make several 14 day cruises from Rotterdam to the British Isles, then back to Rotterdam.

-HAL offer various 7, 14 and 21 day cruises on the MS Rotterdam, that include ports of call in Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Scotland. Most of the itineraries for the MS Rotterdam this spring and summer begin and end in Rotterdam.

-The AIDA prima runs 7 day cruises from and two Rotterdam, visiting Hamburg, Brussels, Paris and Southampton.

Temping hey?!

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However, you do not necessarily need to go on a cruise to enjoy the ships coming in and out of Rotterdam. Just as we love to do, find a nice spot along side the nieuwe waterweg and simply enjoy the view. You can check out the anticipated arrival and departure dates and times here on Rotterdam’s Cruise Calendar:

http://www.cruisekalender.eu/Rotterdam/

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Enjoy the upcoming 2017 cruising season!

Kristen

Dutch Courage

When you speak more than one language, you tend to have slightly different personalities when speaking each one. For example, in English, I am usually quite an outgoing, social person. However, when speaking Dutch, I can be quite reserved and lack confidence. Last Saturday night, once again my Dutch was put to the test….

One of my neighbours invited me over to celebrate her birthday. I walked in to a room full of Dutch woman, all sitting around the living room and I soon realised that this was going to be a 100% dutch language kinda night.

The first hour, I was a little reserved. I just enjoyed sitting back and listening to the conversations around me. You see, listening to Dutch being spoken is no problem, I can understand almost everything. Speaking on the other hand, is a whole other ball game. Plus, it can be quite intimidating in a group setting. As I took my first sip of wine, I slowly began working up the courage to speak out loud in front of these ten or so Dutch woman, most of whom I’d never met. Occasionally I would add a few words to the conversation here and there, but I intentionally avoided long sentences or long stories. I needed more wine for that.

As I sat there in the circle, sipping on my second glass of wine for some more dutch courage, I slowly began speaking more openly. Telling them who I was and answering questions about how on earth an Aussie can end up in the Netherlands. I told them my story, but the whole time I was secretly imagining them internally critiquing my bad grammar or choice of words.

With each sip of wine, my confidence was slowly growing. But still, before speaking, I would go over each sentence in my mind, fix it where I thought may be necessary, and then finally speak it out loud. After my third glass of wine, I began to care less about what they might be thinking of my language skills, and became more like my normal chatty self. Less withdrawn, and more impulsive.

After my fourth glass, all restraints had gone out the window. My mouth began chatting away before my brain had even had a chance to evaluate a plan of action (which is how I typically function in English, getting myself into trouble sometimes). When this happens, it can sometimes mean that my Dutch is actually better. But it also means that I can sometimes talk myself into a corner.. I begin my sentence with full enthusiasm, only to realise half way in, that I actually have no idea how to say what I wanted to say! But it’s too late, I had already started talking and end up, stuck for words, with twenty eyes on me, waiting for the rest of my sentence that either did not eventuate, or came out eventually – completely wrong. But it’s all good. Thanks to the lovely wine I’d been drinking, frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn, and I laugh it off. Temporary brain fart. It’s ok, I’ve got this, my Dutch is fabulous!…. onto the next conversation!…. thank you lovely wine.

Cheers,

Kristen

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Fun Fact:  “Dutch courage” is basically alcohol induced self-confidence. To have an alcoholic drink right before a task you are dreading. This term originates from a time when England was fighting a war alongside the Dutch. The English soldiers noticed that Dutch sailors took their alcohol allowance just before battle, whereas the English Royal Navy men drunk throughout the whole day.

*By no means do I condone the excessive intake of alcohol for the sole use of increasing one’s abilities to speak Dutch – but it sure does help 🙂