Well, summer’s over. Got post-vacation depression? Are you broke and tired? Does the sound of falling leaves remind you of the sweet swish of your passport pages turning? Now’s the time to lighten up, do some soul-searching, and take a really close look at some of the fears you may have sadly developed over the course of your recent international escapades.
Sure, you may know you have aviatophobia (fear of flying), claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), xenophobia (fear of strangers), and mysophobia (fear of germs); those are all pretty common and boring. What about all those other angst-inducing scenarios and situations that crop up as often as ridiculously cheap fares on Orbitz? They’ve probably given you a tic or two, whether you want to admit it or not. Let’s look at twelve real, honest-to-God, official phobias identified by scientists, psychologists, and very renowned researchers (probably ones that don’t do much traveling) that can develop when you’re vagabonding the globe. You’ll find that they’re really nothing to laugh about!
12. Nomophobia: fear of being out of mobile phone contact. Develops after you 1) find yourself repeatedly lost, late, drunk, or confused; 2) have once again left your cruise partner behind at the last shore excursion; or 3) are waiting to hear back from MasterCard about doubling your credit card limit now that you’re on vacation.
11. Agyrophobia: fear of crossing the road. Of particular prominence in India, Brazil, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and other places where smiling drivers drive a perfect 40 mph in the 40 km/hr zone, use their horn only in emergencies, and wave you across the pedestrian crosswalk with all five fingers.
10. Autophobia: fear of being alone or isolated. Develops after repeatedly encountering closed currency exchange counters, boarded-up travel info help desks, and hotel rooftop access doors that automatically lock from the inside.
9. Pedophobia: fear/dislike of children. Of particular concern when 1) taking your middle seat on a 12-hour flight next to a screamer, across from a babbler, and behind a squealer, or 2) realizing that the average age of the other guests at your “family friendly” hotel is about ten years old.
8. Emetophobia: fear of vomiting. At its most intense when, once again, you strike up a conversation with the beautiful person next to you after you’ve consumed vodka during turbulence.
7. Decidophobia: fear of making decisions. At its worst when your new, drunken travel partner is relying on you to find the safest way back to the hostel at 2 am, and you have no more Euros.
6. Ipovlopsychophobia: fear of having one’s photograph taken. This is for you, ladies. Symptoms occur after 1) the airline once again leaves behind your checked bag containing your makeup tote, 2) you’ve finally noticed the hotel security cameras, or 3) you realize your father is following your boyfriend’s blog.
5. Halitophobia: fear of bad breath. At its most wretched when exceeding the standing room capacity of buses; in Rome, in August, during a heat wave; and when having to make an emergency trip to a dentist in the Middle East.
4. Sesquipedalophobia: fear of long words. Particularly prominent when trying to read the menu at a tourist-unfriendly exotic little restaurant you’re dining at with an attractive local you just picked up.
3. Disposophobia: fear of getting rid of or losing things. Severe symptoms occur after you’ve been pickpocketed, mugged, and had a bad experience with a bellhop all on the same trip.
2. Chronophobia: fear of time and time moving forward. Of particular concern when you start receiving airline departure check-in reminders, your coworkers start calling you, and/or you can’t even remember the beginning of your trip.
and the number one under-recognized travel phobia is …
1. Phobophobia: fear of having a phobia or fear. Because the last thing you want to find out when you’re trying to have yourself a *$#&% good time somewhere is that you have yet another new hang-up!
Honorable mention phobia: Ophthalmophobia (fear of being stared at, especially when you’re just trying to make sense of the local culture)