Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Why I cannot backpack.

Backpacking has been the norm of young adults travel these days.. With the mushrooming of youth hostels, backpackers hostels, pods among others all over the world, it is undeniably changing the way youth travels..

However, here's a problem.. Not everyone can backpack and backpacking is not for everyone.. I am not saying from the psychological point of view, where sharing is a choice rather than a want.. I really don't mind sharing sleeping space, but my problem is, my claustrophobia..

When I travel, I almost always stay in hotels, not because of affordability, but because I cannot stay in hostels/pod/backpackers hostel. It's fine to be in a single room in a 1/2/3 star motel/inn, but it's another thing altogether to be actually in a bunk bed..

Thanks to my work - I can get better and always cheaper rates for myself to stay in higher stars hotels in comfort.. Something I appreciates!

I thought I would risk it when planning for my Sydney trip as initially I have no place to stay and my only option was YHA.. thankfully my dear friend offered (love ya Lio!) and saved me..

Claustrophobia is the fear of tight spaces or a fear or restriction, or both.. In my case, I have both, though varying in degree depending on the condition where I am in..

Things I find myself very uncomfortable in, often resulting in a panic attack:

  • bunk bed (both upper and lower)
    • I become very restless and cannot sleep at all if I get a bunk bed, as proven during my university days staying in the campus hostel. I had to move my mattress and sleep on the floor.
  • berth (both upper and lower) 
    • Confined sleeping space makes me anxious
  • capsule/pod
    • For the same reason
  • MRI/CT scanners 
    • My heartbeat shot up irregularly high when I had to undergo a CT brain scan last year. Definitely not a pleasant experience for me. 
  • cave
    • Feels like a horror movie scene to me, I always have this fear the cave will collapse on me despite knowing the cave hole has been there for millions of years.. 
  • tunnel 
    • The time I decided to conquer and crawl through Cu-Chi Tunnel in Vietnam proves my claustrophobia is stronger than I thought.. I was almost in tears when I finally reach the first exit hole and in a waterfall of sweat, and that also because there's just too many people in the tunnel. 
  • waiting in line (in a shop)
    • I will become very anxious and get agitated mostly (very fine example: mini market! That's the reason why if I can help it, I will never shop in a mini market even if the price is cheaper - it's not worth my anxiety!)
  • escalators (covered, in tube form)
    • Two very good example: Central Escalator in Hong Kong and First World Hotel going up to Genting Hotel that few escalators. Immediate onset of giddyness and shortness of breath.. Hence, I take the staircase :)

Claustrophobia is thought to be caused by past experiences, which for me, stemmed mainly as a result of getting separated from parents in a large crowd (actually it's because due to my nature of loving to wander around and then wander off, or that I am too engrossed into something I totally shut the world out) on many occasions, and getting my head stuck in between iron bars/fences and can't escape..

I have plenty of stories my mom tells us how we were as kids, and getting lost was one of my usual game.. so much so my mom ended up telling me I was picked up from the dustbin....

wahpiang eh...

Anyway - back to my claustrophobia, that is why I chose a platform bedframe for my home to give me more breathing space when I sleep, and I never opt for bunk beds when travelling with friends and staying in a hostel, my friends understand my situation and always would give me the single bed..

Either that or I sleep sitting up such as in overnight trains (I really don't mind that)..

Now.. question:
Can I sleep in tents?
Answer: Yes and no. It depends on the tent whether or not it has a "window" or mesh openings.

Do I get panic attack in elevators?
Answer: I do, but it's very, very mild. I always keep myself occupied by playing with my phone, fidget with something in my pocket (coins, keys, cables etc), looking at something that's moving (such as floor numbers), or I sing however horrible I sound if I am alone..

What about cars?
Answer: No, cos cars have windows and it doesn't count as a confined space.

Answer: No, cos I'm not sitting in the lavatory all through the flight. Whenever possible, I always opt for an aisle seat so that I can move around without disturbing others, unless it's the first row, then I'll opt for window seat, I don't care about the TV actually, I have my iPad with me when I travel..

Office cubicle?
Answer: Depends, those that are high partitions with overhead shelves/cabinets are a no-no, unfortunately, thank goodness most modern offices are moving into open spaces..

Steam room?
Answer: NO, how long can one stay in the steam room anyway?


  1. from this, i assume you've never been to Batu Caves, and never used Penchala Link expressway before...hehehe, just kidding...

    have you tried meditation ? it helps :)

    1. lol.. i trained for kl towerthon on batu caves steps, and now every time i look out of my office toilet window, i see batu caves.. nah, not a fan of batu caves.. although the steps i admit makes very good practise for those who wants to do tower runs (sneak preview: i may climb taipei 101 towerrun next year!)

      penchala link? lol.. not quite a fan too hence i prefer to use mrr2 or hartamas way most of the time, unless im really in a rush (rarely).. it's more about not wanting to pay that toll rather than the tunnel itself.. cos i calculated the distance travelled is the same if i take mrr2 and hartamas point to point.. and not worth risking sticking to 80kph on penchala as there's always hidden cams in the day time..

      meditation? Hmm... well, if the last track in BodyBalance has any help... its a few minutes of relaxation after a workout and my mind do wander.. other than that, i tried to stay away from triggers..

  2. Omg!sayang really need to sayang ah..


Hot right now!