Mental Health While Traveling – Challenging the Stigma

Recently I’ve started an ongoing series on Mental Health while Traveling. I’ve been working on addressing challenges, harsh realities, some deeply personal truths, and healing remedies during my travels. Mental health while traveling is a challenge that I encounter on a regular basis and so in an effort to share not only my personal struggles but also my smalls wins, when I have them, I wanted to address the stigma that still surrounds mental health and mental health during my travels especially.

“Where there is neglect, there is little or no understanding. Where there is no understanding, there is neglect.”

World Health Organization

Every once in a while I will pop up with a blog post, an Instagram video or Facebook meme, a quote or message that will address mental health and share a bit about my own history of struggles with mental health. I give snippets here and there probably without too much history… because… well… my history is complicated and anyone with severe anxiety can tell you, it’s  F U C K I N G    H A R D to really open up and share those deeply personal and honestly, intimate & traumatizing memories.

Opening Up is Hard

We all deal with life trauma in our own way and do what we need to survive but in 2020 I promised myself that I would stop just treading water to survive and I would take measurable actions to move beyond that and start actually thriving. Let me just say, I by no means have this shit figured out you guys! Some days all I can do is survive but that is okay. Those days have happened and will happen and that is honestly a beautiful thing because on those days it’s not that we are doing the bare minimum, we are doing the maximum that we can.

Some days you will be doing the absolute maximum that you can manage and that may be simply to survive, and that’s okay.

Courtney Black


Okay, I am glad I was able to say that! I hope you all know that I write and share all these things to be as much of a reminder to myself as I hope they are an encouragement and reminder for you but I digress…

Mental Health Taboo

The topic of mental health itself has been on the rise, especially over the last ten years and for good reason but there are still many aspects of mental health that are highly misunderstood or even considered a taboo subject. 

The World Health Organization states that one in four people are affected by a mental health disorder of some kind and many go untreated often due to the stigma and lack of resources.

Just looking at history we can see the gruesome, neglectful and ignorant way that we, as humans, have approached mental illnesses. In the past, we have to some extent been able to claim true ignorance but willful ignorance is not the same and in this day and age we have a plethora of resources at our fingertips to remove the misunderstanding and stigma around Mental Health issues so as to better to support our friends, family, and peers.

The Gravity of Mental Health

Mental Health disorders are as serious as physical ailments and yet are still not taken as seriously by a huge number of people including employers, governments and even sometimes the people closest to us. Have you ever had to call in sick to work and fake a cough or a cold, not because you just wanna have a free fun day but because you are drowning in your depression and can’t get out of bed, but you know it won’t be taken seriously? I definitely have!

“Currently, more than 40% of countries have no mental health policy and over 30% have no mental health programme. Around 25% of countries have no mental health legislation.”

World Health Organization

Previously when I traveled I would go on shorter trips sometimes I would be just fine, excited, and ready to explore new places but other times I would have a down day. I would have a really down day and I would feel guilty about just wanting to stay in and hide under the covers especially when I only have so much time to see a new city or country or worse if I am on a tour and I really can’t just check out. It’s hard to tell people you’re traveling with that you really just can’t human today and explain why without getting crazy looks.

Traveling Full-time with Mental Health Disorders

Mental Health while traveling full time has been an enlightening experience especially while working for myself (I won’t get into Mental Health amongst business owners and entrepreneurs in this post, I’ll save that for another day.) There have been extreme highs and extreme lows sometimes at the most inconvenient times but the reality is this is my life. This is my every day and I can’t keep treating my own mental health with a stigma as if this is something that just happens to me interrupting my daily life. 

Honestly, that’s probably one of the main reasons why I LOVE traveling solo because it releases me from the guilt of feeling like I’m holding someone else back from enjoying their trip or somehow I’m being a wet blanket. Traveling solo gives me the freedom to address my mental health issues when they arise without hesitation and travel in a way that accepts them as a part of my everyday life.

Learning to Work With it Instead of Against it

Not only dealing with but fully accepting my mental health while traveling means that I also accept that fast-paced travel isn’t great for me or I need to actively schedule down days where I can really recharge and nurture that part of my brain that needs nurturing. It means that even though I don’t have many constants in my life I can set small routines for myself that I follow no matter where I am in the world.

I have been learning that it is important for me to stand up and speak (or write) my truth about my own personal struggles with mental health and challenge the stigma that comes with it. To show my friends and family that I am right here in the middle of it with you all and demand of my employers and government to take it seriously. While it is important to do these things it is equally as important for me to challenge the stigma I have set about my own mental health disorders for myself. 

Fully Accepting it

To accept that it is not a personal failure. To accept it as a part of who I am, my brain wiring. To accept the help when I need it. To accept the days off when I need them. To accept that I am not broken. To accept that I absolutely cannot do all of the things all of the time. To accept that I can and will have great days as well.

Mental Health while traveling is still mental health and whether you are traveling full time and working like me or if you are on vacation in the Bahamas don’t let anyone tell you to just relax, let it go, or that you should be grateful. Let’s continue to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and know that I am right there with you.

For those interested, I use Betterhelp (click the link to receive a free 1-week trial) while traveling. It allows me to connect with a therapist and someone to talk to when I need it even though I may not be right there in the room with them.

P.S. – A Note about Covid-19

I wasn’t going to comment on the current affairs right now on my website but I felt it was probably necessary seeing as my timely post about Mental health stigmas had been something on my mind a lot lately. Right now there is a lot of fear surrounding Covid-19. I understand that for some people it doesn’t seem like a big deal and for others it is panic-inducing.

Since I have zero training or background in the field of viruses, I will not write the information or facts about it because you can find it on the WHO website which I highly recommend everyone keeps an eye on. I will, however, comment on the need now, more than ever for compassion. Everyone deals with these situations and stress in our own unique ways.

For me personally, as I already struggle with anxiety, depression and a strong tendency to over-think everything single thing in my life, it’s been a difficult time for me to find that inner peace and balance in what FACTUAL information I am reading and the general concern of the masses. I think it should be taken seriously but I think it’s important to remember to have compassion for our neighbors when/if they freak out. It’s important to have compassion with ourselves if we find ourselves panicking and it’s important to have compassion and remember this isn’t something that will only affect us.

If you are healthy, have health insurance and the ability to take time off of work without getting behind on your bills, remember that is a privilege and many many others may not have this privilege.

Carry Compassion with you everywhere. <3

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Coco Betty Travels About Me

Hi Friends!

My full name is Courtney Elizabeth and growing up some of my nicknames were Coco & Betty, thus the name Coco Betty. Feel free to call me Coco, I still answer to it. I empower women to love themselves through travel, one trip at a time.


  1. Lauren on March 14, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    I’m feeling very street with everything going on right now. I am having the same struggles in knowing where everything lies between panic and normalcy. Trying to make the best of the situation! Sending good vibes xo

    • CocoBetty on March 15, 2020 at 8:49 am

      It’s such a weird balance especially when you already struggle with anxiety and mental health issues. I am with you for sure… xoxo

  2. Agnes on March 14, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    Your honesty in this post is empowering! Thank you for this post. It’s an important reminder to bring compassion along wherever you go!

    • CocoBetty on March 15, 2020 at 8:50 am

      Thank you so much for reading it! It is a good reminder for all of us, myself just as much. xox

  3. Julie on March 15, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Can relate to so much of this. Super helpful post, thank you!

    • CocoBetty on March 16, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      I am so glad to hear that! xoxo

  4. Elizabeth on March 16, 2020 at 5:26 am

    I’m so glad you shared your experience and thoughts on mental health and traveling. I haven’t really wanted to talk about or think about Covid-19 either, but as someone who gets anxiety (not usually around traveling or illness tho) I have been thinking how hard it is for people who need to travel right now and are struggling with that. It’s very true what you said about opening up being hard and mental health being taboo.

    • CocoBetty on March 16, 2020 at 12:21 pm

      Thank you for reading! It’s hard to deal with something on this scale for sure. I am lucky that I am able to stay put right now but this is so much harder than just the physical aspect people are dealing with. xoxo

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Coco Betty Travels About Me

Hi Friends!

My full name is Courtney Elizabeth and growing up some of my nicknames were Coco & Betty, thus the name Coco Betty. Feel free to call me Coco, I still answer to it. I empower women to love themselves through travel, one trip at a time.

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