Public transport has always been a stressor of mine.
I fear crowds and groups of people pique my anxiety.
Then there’s the sensory overload: the mechanical noises, clashes with the chattering of conversation and I get so overwhelmed.
Every journey, no matter how brief, requires hours of preparation and will inevitably end with a nap to manage the post adrenaline surge crash.
Over the years I have veered from not being able to travel at all to being able to manage planned journeys with the help of my prepared kit.
It has taken a fair bit of trial and error, and there are a couple of pieces that may be changed depending on the season or added if I can handle it.
But the core kit remains the same.
- Bag organiser: This is the core of my kit, it keeps everything organised and has enough room for me to include my phone, purse and keys. This is also a great tool if you tend to switch bags as it keeps everything contained.
- Noise Cancelling Headphones: These are a must for me. I don’t connect these to a device I merely use them as sound muffler/barrier to help me manage in congested, loud or public areas.
- Little Mermaid Tsum Tsum: This is stuffed toy is small and discreet, perfect for when I need a tactile stim.
- Soft Cloth: Sometimes I need to wrap my hands or rub my face on something soft, as I find it can be a calming ‘stim’.
- Tangler: This is a great fidget stim. I have a few of these but this one is my favourite as is has various textures and I love certain texture contrasts.
- Chewing gum: Chewing is a comfort stim, that helps me to stay focused and present. I am particularly found of strong mint flavours that ‘clear the airways’.
- Autism Alert Card: I haven’t had to use this card yet, however it is a great tool from the National Autistic Society that explains some ways that others can help if, for example, I experience autistic shut down. It also has the contact information for my mum. It also doubles up as my bus pass holder!
- Tinted Glasses: I have always struggled with light sensitivity, I just didn’t know there was a name for it, so it was a huge relief (mentally and physically) when I discovered that a simple change in tint or tone had a drastic affect on my wellbeing. Orange is my special colour and though these lenses look quite bright they only produce a light sepia haze.
I am short-sighted, so these are prescription lenses, however it is possible to purchase non-prescription versions.
- Hand sanitiser: This is a must. There is not always a sink with soap and water readily available and the world is dirty!
- Gloves: Gloves may be seasonal, however last winter I discovered that the squeeze from these pleather gloves helped me feel calmer. They also dulled every touch sensation including holding the safety pole on public transport, which I typically avoid.
- Fan: I cannot always regulate my temperature and in the summer months a fan is a necessity.
- Umbrella: Whatever the weather, I carry my umbrella.
- Cooling mist: This is mostly a summer need and lowers your temperature and cools the air around you. I also use the can as a stim as it is always very cold and I like putting very cold, or very hot, things against my cheeks (not always safe, I know).
- My final addition is personal and not something anyone else can have: My mum.
My mum is my best friend. She is also my carer. Without going outside would not be something that I could even consider. She keeps me safe and distracts me if I am becoming overwhelmed. She encourages me when I am afraid and protects me when I am scared.
I also have a separate pouch for medications but those are personal, so I have not included those.
Do you have a Travel Kit?
Has this post encouraged you to create one of your own?