Doug Leddin shares his experience as a traveler living with mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.

By Tanner Saunders
July 01, 2020
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For many travelers, going on a trip is as simple as packing a bag, catching a flight, and getting out to explore or hunkering down on the beach to relax. For many others, though, travel is mired with anxiety and apprehension, despite wanting to go on a trip to see and experience somewhere new.

For Doug Leddin, a mental health advocate from Dublin, Ireland, that’s exactly the case — and the focus of this week’s episode of Travel + Leisure’s new podcast Let’s Go Together.

Leddin, who owns a number of bars around Ireland, has been sharing his experiences dealing with mental health publicly since 2016. After a friend’s brother committed suicide, Leddin created a video opening up about his years-long battle with depression and the importance of having open conversations about mental issues.

“From that moment on I wanted to be part of the solution,” Leddin told Let's Go Together host Kellee Edwards.

That emotional and powerful video went viral, garnering millions of views and encouraging people to open up about their own lives living with depression, anxiety, and other mental health-related issues.

For Leddin, travel is an important part of life — but one that doesn’t necessarily come easy following a tragic experience while traveling as a kid.

“It took until I was about 19 to learn how to deal with traveling and to learn how to cope. And there's not one magic secret that allowed me to travel, but it was just a combination of everything,” Leddin told Edwards. “But my doctors and my friends and being open and just learning to cope with the anxiety of going away and something happening back home.”

Over the course of the episode, Leddin — who has traveled around the world, including Bali last summer for his honeymoon — shares his advice for traveling while coping with depression, anxiety, and stress. Plus, he shares how people can be better allies to those dealing with mental health issues.

“Do something that makes you happy and smile. It's your holiday. It's your experience. You're the one that should live it, and enjoy it in your own time, at your own time, with people that you want, that don't make you feel alone.”

Hear more from Doug Ledding on Let’s Go Together, available on Apple Podcasts, SpotifyMegaphone, and Stitcher.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.