Why Travel Jitters Are A Good Thing



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No matter how much I travel, and no matter how many times I've been to Japan – a country I'm getting to know and understand better with every journey - I still get a slightly uncomfortably 'light' feeling in my stomach as I'm gearing up for a trip. 

It's not that I'm a nervous traveller or nervous flyer. But I get travel jitters weeks before the journey begins.

Why Travel Jitters Are A Good Thing

Why Travel Jitters Are A Good Thing
by Rob Dyer

Is it just me?

I don't know if many people get it or if it's just me. I can't believe it is.

It feels like a combination of excitement and anxiousness. The excitement is understandable. I've been thinking about what causes the latter.

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I've always had a view that I want to be as content as possible. I've never had what I'd call extraordinarily grand desires, but I have had, and still have, ambition. A desire to pursue that contentment as much as possible.

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Personal Milestones

It helps immensely if you have control over your circumstances and situation.

That's not easy to achieve.

Like most thing in life, I guess. But this year I'll have reached a few personal milestones. Ones that I set myself when I was in my 20s. It's feels special to be close to achieving them. But I can already feel a nervousness about setting new goals.

Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Hokkaido The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Sculpture playground at Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Hokkaido

More than another 20 years later and I don't feel anywhere close to my age (well, mentally at least!). Not at all. In my head I am still a teenager (though thankfully without the angst!).

I guess the anxiousness before more travel stems from me being a bit of a control freak. I try not to be. But I can't help myself. The irony is that many of the most memorable, enjoyable and meaningful experiences I've had in Japan are the ones you don't and cannot plan.


You can't buy moments like this at a travel agent

Stumbling upon that achingly cute café in Takamori in the middle of the Aso caldera in Kyushu which just happens to have a shiatsu treatment room in a shed in the back garden.

Eating in the restaurant in someone's private house surrounded by their inquisitive cats on the north coast of Okinawa. Playing like a child in the sculpture park of Moerenuma Park in Sapporo on the northern island paradise of Hokkaido.

Cafe in Takamori, Aso caldera, Kyushu

You cannot buy these experiences, these moments, these memories at a travel agent. You have to allow them to happen. That can only happen if you allow yourself to loosen the reins, let chance wrestle control from your hands. Or at least my hands.

Learning to relax and embrace uncertainty

If I could only learn to relax and embrace the uncertainty I'm sure I'd have less butterflies in the stomach. But having those reminds me I'm alive and that I need to make the most of my time on earth. That I need to keep setting goals. And that I need to keep having adventures in The Real Japan.

RELATED: How (and Why) to Think Differently About Travel

Do you ever get similar feelings? Let me know by sharing a comment below...

Rob Dyer The Real Japan

About the Author

A writer and publisher from England, Rob has been exploring Japan’s islands since 2000. He specialises in travelling off the beaten track, whether on remote atolls or in the hidden streets of major cities. He’s the founder of TheRealJapan.com.

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  • Simone Erasmus says:

    This is a lovely write ! Wish you many more adventures in Japan… as for travel jitters well i am all done and packed three days before the travel date, No last minute packing for me!!! ? and the only thing that affect me most is , yes inability to sleep before, during and on the journey… jetlag or not .. Have done a 15 hour flight with no sleep the entire night before at the airport , Butterflies you say!!! no sleep the entire flight.. looking at passengers around me all dozing ? Total insomnia Get to destination , function of 2-3 hours per night … no angst at all for all the other factors except baggage getting lost. Love flying!!! Its a thrill to travel ?

    • Thanks Simone. As much as I try I still can’t pack in advance. I always leave it until the last minute.

      I can
      also relate to your flight stories. I don’t usually sleep when flying
      to Japan.

      The direct flight time between UK and Japan is between 11-12
      hours. I use it as an opportunity to catch up with films I missed at the
      cinema. The most I’ve managed on one direct flight so far is 6. 🙂

  • Regina Rianelli says:

    Ohayo, #RobDyer #san,

    Great Article: my Compliments !

    What a priceless moments savoring Matcha Coffee in the Family garden in #Takamori, Kyushu Prefecture !

    WOW…. the #Shiatsu treatment is a Plus !!!

    #Cheers to You!

    Thank YOU for sharing !!!

    many Blessings your way,
    Regina Rianelli

    • Thanks again Regina! I will be writing more about that cafe in Takamori 🙂

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