Sunday, June 1, 2014

Countdown...pre-travel anxieties to take-off adventure

I am so very bad at the days before flying. It doesn't help at all that, at 18, I misremembered the dates for a trip home from England, ensuring that both my younger sister and I missed our flights. A lifetime legacy of travel anxiety.

Nor has it helped that I lost my ($5000) hearing aids in the back-and-forth from island to city to island last week. I do have loss warranty coverage ($300 fitting few per ear, much better than $5K!), but following French conversations is going to be even tougher. And I worry about irritating my family, during our Italian week, with my constant requests for repetition.

I suspect what bothers me most about the loss is that all the systems I've put into place failed me. I only have certain places I put them down, for example, even if I'm tired. I almost always put them in their case overnight. I carry the case around in my purse to pop them in, so they're safe even when not in my ears. The chances of both falling out of my ears while I'm out and about, with my not noticing? Infinitesimal. And yet. ..

So the systems that are supposed to yield me control over possible chaos have revealed some weakness. right before a trip that includes several, flights, a few train journeys, many different beds, and a foreign language or two.

I also provided an old code for the bank wire sent off last week. The European landlord responded very reassuringly to my panicked email. The new code has only been in place for a month, is only different by 3 place-holding X's, and the monies will certainly come to roost in the proper nest. But meanwhile, oh the grist for this anxiety mill.

And the minor inconvenience of our Tate Matisse tickets not arriving in the mail before we left. My husband reassures me that if our receipt doesn't get us past the box office, we'll just line up as we've always done before. If I wail back at him that It might be sold out, he raises his eyebrows, shrugs, and something about his demeanour seems to query whether this catastrophe would be on a par with, say, serious illness or a lost job or a flooded home. Big mistake, though, to try to reason with pre-travel anxiety.

Yesterday I had a big meltdown. Hours of tears, a mood between anxiety and depressing. Luckily, it didn't hit hard until we'd taken a son, daughter, and a granddaughter out to have lunch with their grandmother. Luckily, I didn't have anything else on the afternoon schedule other than the tears, so I simply felt miserable for a few hours, then finished packing and ate sushi and felt miserable some more. And then got a good night's sleep and things are looking better. I'm heading out for a run, chasing endorphins...

When I get back, we're meeting a daughter who will miss out on our meet-up in Italy in favour of gestating here at home. I'll be doing my best not to do the tears again (leaving her behind, pregnancy and all, good for emotional highs and lows, y'know?)

Then a last bit of packing and we'll head to the airport. Once we've checked in and we're waiting down by the boarding gate, there may be one more wee attack of tears. I find waiting here evokes memories of so many flights and carries the impulse to phone my mom to say good-bye and let her know where we're headed, chat a bit about her travels right Europe with my Dad. And she's no longer on the other end of the phone . . .

But eventually, we'll line up, show our passports, file down the plane's narrow aisles, heft our bags into those overhead compartments, and settle into our seats. And while I may grip the armrests more tightly as we accelerate into the air, that's generally the moment when I begin to relax and enjoy the adventure. . . Only 11 hours from now. . Countdown!

21 comments:

  1. Things will get better once you are on your way (which you are by now I think). You'll be with your lovely husband and family and really that's all that matters! Have fun!! I hope you post all about the trip when you get back....can't wait to hear about it.

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  2. All will be well. Hugs to you and have a wonderful trip.

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  3. Oh my goodness - I, too, get very anxious when travelling, but I've never yet (touch wood) had this much to worry about all at once. It sounds like Pater keeps a cool head - much like my husband;he always tells me to leave the worrying to him, but I'm afraid that he doesn't do it properly! :0)

    Here's wishing you plain sailing from now on!

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  4. Sending you a big hug....and hope everything comes together for you.

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  5. How exciting but at the same time full of anxiety. So much travel would send me off in a complete spin. I'm sending calming thoughts and excitement. Enjoy the adventure

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  6. Thanks for this honest post, Mater. I thought I was the only one in crisis when I have to travel,now I know I am not. It's not I don't like traveling because I am fine when I have left. It's just that I hate, absolutely hate, leaving home. I try not to complain about it, because I am supposed to be so "lucky to be able to see all these places", right?
    I hope running helps.
    Dominique

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    1. It does help a bit, doesn't it Dominique, to know we're not alone in our anxieties. Well into our travels now, I'm feeling almost relaxed and I'm enjoying the different views. Thanks for commenting!

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  7. I experience much the same feeling on the days before travel days. It's worse coming home because I'm afraid of what I'm coming home to. It is really good that you have such an understanding husband for support. Good luck and bon voyage!

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  8. Hopefully you are on your way and everything else has melted away! Stay in the moment and enjoy your adventure!

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  9. Ah those jitters. Hope you have smooth travels and a wonderful time! Looking forward to reading about your journeys.

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  10. The days leading up to departure time are a constant worry, but as soon as I check my bags in, I am settled. I suppose because we are perfectionists and want everything to be perfect. Of course it might be but if problems arise there are always ways to overcome them. Bon voyage and stay chilled as my young nephew says.

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    1. As the Boy Scouts say, Always Be Prepared, right?

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  11. Bon voyage - it will all turn out fine, and if any parts don't, you can chalk them up to adventure (this from a pathological worrier who actually provided her family members with a spreadsheet/timeline for Christmas last year - I include this so you know that I am not attempting to diminish your jitters, only to ease them!). I know you will find enjoyment everywhere it is possible, and am anticipating reading about your wonderful adventures.

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  12. Do not worry at all about the Matisse tickets....it will be OK. They are quite accommodating at Tate Modern. Your description of the 'day before' exactly echoes my feelings when coming from Europe the other way.once the flight is underway it's all fine! Have a great trip! London awaits and it's very vibrant at present!!

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    1. They were fabulous at The Tate! They did as you said, made it so very easy. thanks for the reassurance.

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  13. You (like many of us) have blue moments before and on the trip; you recover and continue having a fantastic adventure; that is you, that is life... so I'm wishing you another grand adventure... you will rise above it literally and figuratively.

    Before I travel far, I say my goodbyes. Yes, odds are tiny, but still have to about knock myself out to get on a plane. We all have our travel weirdness.

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    1. Me too, but I try to be discreet about it so the kids don't roll their eyes too much. . .;-)

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  14. Travel weirdness - Duchesse's term is apt. I have my own quirks about travel.
    By now you are well on your way, it's Monday morning here on the Island. Wishing you traveling joys.

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  15. By now you are well on your way to the adventures that await you! I trust you will be refreshed and enchanted with your experiences!

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  16. Have a wonderful, wonderful trip, any may everything settle pleasantly. I suspect that the jitters are an unpleasant but necessary part of being able to experience things so fully, and describe them so well. Still, hugs to you.

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  17. Sorry I'm going to have to concede that I won't manage to get back and answer every comment. I did read them all and really appreciated your reassurance. You make very good virtual traveling companions, all of you -- thanks!

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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