Apprehension of Going on a Trip
E very time I prepare to go on a trip, there is always a sense of perturbation prior to leaving. Never mind that I have been traveling for years all over the world — whether it is a location in some distant land or a short jaunt to a nearby destination. Whether or not I am completely prepared for the trip does not seem to matter.
Apprehension of Going on a Trip
I originally was going to use the word anxiety to describe what I go through; but I felt that it was too strong of a word because I have never suffered from a panic attack — to my knowledge, anyway — and I have no known phobias. A number of things do go through my head prior to embarking on my next travel adventure, though: do I have everything I need for my trip? Am I taking too many things? Is my overall itinerary correct? Can this matter wait until I return? Did I prepare my home in a way that no one will know that I am gone?
Despite things working out well virtually every time, I still get that nagging feeling — especially when I have not traveled in a while. Of course, that feeling goes away once I start traveling…
…but the one thing which amazes me every single time I am about to embark on a trip is that the trip reminds me of just how much I have to do which has nothing to do with the trip. The voice mailbox is full. A message requires a response. An emergency repair must be completed. A sale on something I need is about to expire. Action must be taken by me on a plethora of items, as I am asked to do things which are considered important at virtually the last minute.
In other words, I need to save the world from certain doom. You know — minor things like that.
Somehow travel likes to remind me of what I am apparently going to be neglecting while I am gone. Regardless of how much I accomplish prior to my trip, there is always more errands and chores to be done — without fail. Staying home and giving everything the sudden attention needed would be so much easier — but then, what is the fun in that?
Why can’t all of the things which require my attention catch me during a slower week nowhere close to the day when my travel begins? And how does that pile in the middle of the floor which I have not had time to put away suddenly blossom into this massive landfill which overtakes my office?
I do not even have to mention that I am about to travel. Somehow all of this stuff knows — as if tasks and papers and text messages all have minds of their own and use their social media accounts to spread the word faster than an airline can have a passenger dragged off an airplane all bloodied and embarrassed.
Why can’t this stuff be more like an airline which takes five days to get its operations back to some semblance of normal? Cough.
The Trip Itself
“In Laos, I experienced the unluckiest 48 hours of my life: it involved eating a cockroach, staying in the dirtiest accommodation I’ve seen, watching a woman die from malaria, sitting next to the woman and her grieving husband for several hours, getting locked inside the next guesthouse I stayed in, having another cockroach run over my face as I slept, and being sexually assaulted by a backpacker.”
…and here I was, concerned about potentially long lines at airport security checkpoints, delayed or canceled flights, dealing with rude and clueless people, hotel reservations, car rental agreements, the quality of the food I eat, and ensuring that I planned my trip accordingly while still leaving enough room for spontaneity.
Wow. I guess everything is relative…
The apprehension can be rather daunting at times — almost to the point where I change my mind and do not want to travel after all.
Hey — I did say almost…
…but the irony is that I rarely forget anything and usually do accomplish a lot before embarking on a trip — everything is usually all right when I return as things wait for me to pay them attention and get things done — but that does not help to ease that temporary nervousness.
Many articles exist with advice on how to reduce anxiety prior to embarking on a trip — and I follow the basic advice which I gave in this article pertaining to what you can do about identity theft and credit card fraud and how to reduce your risk — but I have found that for me, the only true cure for that trepidation is to just go. Once my journey has begun, all of that concern magically melts away and I concentrate on having a successful trip and live in the moment while I am traveling…
…and that is often an amazing feeling.
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.