If you love to travel and do it a lot, it should be as easy to get on a plane as venturing out for a quart of milk, right?
Wrong. A few months ago, I wrote about the difficulty many travel writers have before every trip. They poured their hearts out on a thread on a travel-writer's Web site. These people love travel enough to do it for a living, yet still struggle beforehand. Some more of these "inner thoughts:"
"Jeeze, I thought I was the only one. I, too, have been all over, from China to Istanbul and in between...it never fails. I get irritable and very nervous before leaving. The night prior to a trip I am a bear not to be approached with little or no caution." --Vazandri
"The evening before the day I head off on a trip is hell for me. I always say, 'I wish I wasn't going.' Many's the time I've even picked up the phone to cancel before I think better of it." --Petra
I know this dread well. But, after arriving, poof. Gone. The Big A, anxiety, is replaced by other Big A's: adrenaline, adventure, 'appiness, axcitement. (Okay, I ran out of pertinent "a's.")
This is not meant to deter, but to encourage, fearful solo travelers. Yeah, I know it doesn't sound like it. The point to remember is that pre-trip anxiety doesn't hang around during the vacation. And, that you are not alone in experiencing such anxiety.
"I'm on a plane tomorrow a.m. for New York City and I already feel a little knot in my stomach. It's all good after takeoff, though. Isn't this a funny thread? I thought it was just me." --Jenhahaha
"I leave tomorrow for St. Thomas. I feel the same way everyone else feels. Dread, misery, what-am-I-doing-this-for? --Susank1
me, the fear is greater when I'm going to foreign, and far away places
I've never been. When I was off to Thailand, I felt like a puppy digging
in my heels and pulling against a leash that was dragging me to a place
I didn't want to go. Well, I did want to go. Very much so. That's what's so weird about it.
I were to go to Thailand again, I'd still feel the nervousness and resistance. But
helping to beat it down would be vivid memories of spicy noodles
dishes, friendly people and night markets with great deals on silver
and sarongs. A sense of
familiarity would cancel some of the nerves.
But, since I'm always looking to travel to places I haven't
been, I'm typically flying off to some great unknown. And arriving at Anxiety Central just before getting to my real destination.
Photo: Ellen Perlman