Travel Trepidations: When Practice Does Not Make Perfect

I’ll admit it–I freak out in my head about every single trip I take.  It typically starts right after I book the trip and increases in frequency and severity as the trip approaches.  I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and think what the hell am I doing?  As I check and double check my itinerary and edit my things-to-pack list, I get a knot in my stomach.  In fact, that knot is there right now as I type this.

And then there’s the other side of travel–the things you are leaving behind.  Most of my trips are short-ish, at least to me.  The longest trip I took this year was three weeks long, though most were just under two weeks.  I’m leaving the day after tomorrow for twelve days.  That doesn’t seem long–until you start thinking about not seeing anyone you love or care about for twelve whole days.  And twelve days is almost three months in dog years!

Of course, the anxiety doesn’t stop as soon as I walk out the door.  In fact, if anything, it is heightened, at least for a day or two.  Traveling can be stressful.  Long days of travel combined with the effort it requires to find your way in a new city or town can be downright exhausting.  From carting around luggage to navigating unfamiliar public transportation, I definitely see why some people just choose to stay home.

The final straw on the back of my travel camel is solo travel.  I’m doing all of these things–leaving home, finding my way, adjusting to a variety of changes–and I’m doing them all by myself.  When traveling solo, you wake up in a new place each morning, and you find yourself alone.  Of course, I love to travel alone–but it can be lonely.  Typically I’m anything but lonely when I travel, but it does happen at least once on each trip I take.  I recall sitting alone in the courtyard of my hotel in New Orleans, waiting to check in and wishing I had someone to chat with.  Every morning on both solo cruises that I enjoyed, I’d have breakfast alone.  Even in Walt Disney World, I’m sometimes lonely–amidst the thousands of people swarming around me.

You would think that doing this so frequently–I’ve traveled at least once a month for all of this calendar year–I’d become accustomed to it.  You’d think I’d sling my backpack over my shoulder on Wednesday, smile, and head out the door without a care or fear in the world.  But you, my friend, would be wrong.  At least in this one instance, practice does not make perfect.

Do you have travel trepidations?  Are they the same for every trip or do they change depending upon where you are going?  And, most importantly, how do you deal with them?  



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